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Summer 2007 Vol. 14 No. 4 Focus on Budget Crunch

Tight times … and classrooms feel effects

Photo: Harvey Finkle
By by Paul Socolar

Just three years ago, the Philadelphia School District had 12,179 teachers. By this fall, that number will have dropped to about 10,000.

The loss of 2,000 teachers over four years makes it clear that the School District’s financial situation involves more than a little belt-tightening.

Cuts to teaching positions at budget time a year ago were the harbinger of what has proved to be a massive, systemwide financial crunch. And the more information School District officials reveal about the District’s still-unfolding budget crisis, the grimmer the picture gets.

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Cutbacks: the word from the schools

By by Paul Socolar and Shani Evans

An unscientific survey of a dozen schools by the Notebook in May found that most have experienced staff reductions in recent years and are anticipating further school budget cuts next year.

Those who spoke of cutbacks uniformly maintained that the cuts in next year's school budget were beyond those caused by any enrollment losses.

But some schools were clearly harder hit than others.

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Costing out: Building the case for a new funding formula

By by Janis Risch

A) Philadelphia is a struggling school district with inadequate resources; or

B) Philadelphia has received sufficient revenues since the state takeover five years ago and must be misusing its funds.

Discussions of these views often leave ordinary citizens confused. A host of organizing and advocacy groups, however, are working to clarify the issues and make sure Philadelphia students end up receiving the resources they need.

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How schools are funded in Pennsylvania: A primer

By by Justin DiBerardinis and Michael Churchill
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School District Budget 101: Follow the money

By by Ron Whitehorne and Yulanda Essoka

Where does the School District get the money to operate Philadelphia's schools, and how does it spend it?

As the city's parents, students, and residents face another looming budget deficit that threatens cutbacks in school programs, these are important questions to consider.

They also take on added importance in an election year. All the candidates promise to fix the schools, but where will they get the money and what choices will they make about how to spend it?

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