Philadelphia School District Approves 'Doomsday' Budget

Philadelphia School District Approves 'Doomsday' Budget

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PHILADELPHIA -

The Philadelphia School District approved a so-called "doomsday" budget Thursday night, cutting arts, music, physical education and other programs. It will also mean thousands of layoffs.

Hundreds of teachers, parents, and students marched outside school district headquarters in protest Thursday.

It was their last-ditch effort to stop the $2.4-billion spending plan that will axe arts and athletics.

Superintendent Dr. William Hite calls the budget catastrophic.

"This budget does not meet our expectations for every school to deliver high-quality educational programs and opportunities. We are hopeful that we will find a resolution in the coming weeks to provide our students with the education they deserve," Hite said.

Students and teachers agree.

For CAPA High School student Tiffany Thompkins it could mean she won't be able to have her dream job when she graduates from Temple University.

Thompkins plans to major in music education and teach in Philadelphia city schools. She wants to give back to the district and help children feel what she felt when she first learned to play a string instrument at school in the third grade.

"For the kids growing up they aren't going to have a chance to be exposed to something
so critical and its something that can help them relate to people no matter what their background"

The Philadelphia school district is struggling with a $300-million deficit that includes pension and health care contributions, and fluctuations in state aid.

It's the state's largest district and serves about 204,000 traditional and charter school students.

Commissioners say they were forced to vote for the cuts because they were legally obligated to pass a budget by May 31.

The catch to all this is that the budget could be amended in the next few weeks. Commissioners are hoping money from the city, state and contract concessions from unions will help them restore programs and jobs.

Union members say they plan to protest in front of Philadelphia School Headquarters on June 5.

FOX 29's Steve Keeley has more details in this video report.

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