More cuts announced for Philadelphia schools

Monday, August 18, 2014

Thousands of high school students won't get transportation to school, buildings will be cleaned less frequently and school police officer vacancies will go unfilled as part of the district's effort to close an $81 million shortfall before the first bell rings Sept. 8.

Superintendent William Hite called the reductions "unbelievably tough" decisions but also the "least harmful" for students and families. Officials had been weighing options such as a delayed start, a shortened school year or large numbers of pink slips.

"It is incredibly frustrating," Hite said at a news conference. "I would much rather be talking about ways we can spend investments."

The other $49 million is expected to come from a $2-per-pack cigarette tax that legislators will consider when they reconvene from their annual break on Sept. 15. Squabbling within the Legislature's GOP majority prevented it from being passed earlier in the summer.

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