This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
by Holly Otterbein for NewsWorks
Philadelphia’s public schools may not have reopened yet, but parents are already thinking about taking legal action over this year’s cutbacks.
When classes start Monday, the School District will have about 3,000 fewer employees than it did in June. That amounts to a 15 percent cut to staff.
Sonja Kerr, director of disabilities rights for the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, provided legal advice to concerned parents Thursday. She doubts that the cash-strapped District will be able to fully meet the needs of children with disabilities.
"Children don’t know what school they’re going to. Children have transportation issues. Children with disabilities who need aides don’t have aides," she said. "It’s going to be a very, very difficult year for children with disabilities."
If problems arise, Kerr said that parents can file a complaint with the state Department of Education and school district. She also encouraged families to call the state’s help line for children with special needs (800-879-2301).