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What would proposed budget increases buy Philadelphia schools?

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Four years after Pennsylvania state budget cuts reduced recurring funding for Philadelphia classrooms by $294 million, Mayor Nutter and Gov. Wolf propose to put nearly that much money back into the School District.

For its part, the District is showing — not telling — what the added $264 million would do by holding a series of community budget meetings at neighborhood schools.

Nearly three-quarters of the money would go directly to schools, according to Matt Stanski, the District’s chief financial officer.

"The change that we want to see is going to happen at the school, and that’s where the resources need to go," Stanski said at the first meeting, held at Northeast High School.

About 20 parents, teachers and students joined School District officials in the Northeast auditorium, where Stanski laid out the District’s budget numbers.

Principal Sharon McCloskey walked attendees through exactly what the full budget increase would buy her school. With an additional $1,286,820, Northeast High could hire 18 new staff members: seven new teachers, a new counselor, a new secretary and nine noontime aides.

McCloskey said that money would also update classroom technology, including smartboards, and give every 9th-grade student access to a tablet. The money would support over 60 afterschool programs as well.

The meeting also brought into focus just how much students and teachers at the school now do without.

Qwajarik Sims, 17, a senior at Northeast said the college admissions process had been stressful with only one counselor for the school’s 500 seniors. "There’s one man responsible for every senior in the school."

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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