Philadelphia public schools are facing a "doomsday" budget next year after the School Reform Commission (SRC) approved drastic cuts that leave the district with a $304 million shortfall. Schools will open next fall without the money for basic things like new books and paper, and without key resources like counselors, librarians or assistant principals. Art, music and athletics are also on the chopping block unless the SRC finds additional funding.
These cuts are part of a vicious cycle of underfunding and punishment of struggling schools. Daniel Denvir of the Philadelphia City Paper explained it recently on the Melissa Harris-Perry show:
"It's a state of permanent crisis in Philadelphia public schools and other public school systems around the country that serve disproportionately low-income and non-White student bodies. Now almost every year in Philadelphia there's a funding crisis because the state and federal government refuse to give Philadelphia schools what they need to succeed, and that crisis is then used to push unpopular changes like closing 23 schools, even though there's no evidence that will help student or generate the desired savings."
The budget cuts sparked a massive student walkout (above) several weeks ago in which thousands of students left classes to march to city hall. Two OTL youth allies, the Philadelphia Student Union (PSU) and Youth United for Change, were among the demonstrators. You can watch both PSU organizer Sharron Snyder and Daniel Denvir on the Melissa Harris-Perry show below!