Philadelphia’s public schools will open on time in September after city officials Thursday announced plans to borrow $50 million, the New York Times reports. On Sept. 9, schools will open with minimum staffing and greatly reduced extracurricular activities and other programs.
Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. had been threatening to delay opening schools if the city did not come through with the $50 million, which he said was necessary to provide the minimum staffing needed for the basic safety of the district’s 136,000 students. In June, the district closed 24 schools and laid off 3,783 employees, including 127 assistant principals, 646 teachers and more than 1,200 aides, leaving no one even to answer phones
For years, Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the City Council have been working to bolster the city’s finances, which have been dogged by mounting debt, a shrinking tax base and unfunded pension and health care obligations to retirees. Taxpayers have carried some of the burden.
… But the school district, supported by the same weary municipal taxpayers, though under the control of a state reform commission for more than a decade, had been largely ignored.
While the city’s own bond rating has been raised, to its highest level in 30 years, the school district’s credit has been downgraded to junk, with warnings that more downgrades may come.
Read more at the New York Times.