As Funding Deadline Looms, Hundreds Rally At School District HQ - KMSP-TV

As Funding Deadline Looms, Hundreds Rally At School District HQ

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PHILADELPHIA -

There are thousand of students with no classrooms to learn in if the Philadelphia school district doesn't get $50 million dollars in funding.

Today, more than 150 interfaith leaders, parents and students rallied for answers, outside the school district headquarters.

"Get off your behind, and get the funding!" says Kevin R. Johnson, Pastor of Bright Hope Baptist Church. "Why is the ship not ready?"

Across town, Superintendent William Hite addressed the city's 212 principals at the district's annual leadership conference.

"[W]e are in a tough fiscal environment right now," he said. "We have to quickly pivot our actions to begin talking about what high performing practices look like, feel like, sound like in every one of our schools."

Some principals we talked to are skeptical that school will open on September 9th.

"I am not sure, but I am going to remain hopeful that they'll come to understand that they have to invest in our children, which are the future of the city," says Linda Carroll, the Northeast High School principal.

Others explain they are planning to open with the resources that they have, but they're quickly falling behind.

"[We're] behind because there is no secretary in place yet," says William Wade, Martin Luther King High School's principal.

"One of the reasons Friday is so important is because we need at least two weeks so schools can be adequately staffed," says Superintendent Hite. Nearly 4 thousand employees were laid off in June because of a $304 million budget shortfall.

"It takes weeks to get ready for the 9th, so we can't get the money on the 8th. We need the money now," emphasize Wade.

Parents and community activists agree.

"This situation is outrageous, unbelievable and it's a disgrace," says Helen Gym of Parents United For Public Education

Sonya Brintnall was at the rally with her 12 year old daughter Sophia. Sophia goes to Masterman Middle School Student.

"It makes me feel like they are devaluing our children," says Sonya Brintnall of University City. "The 50 million that has become the discussion point doesn't even scratch the surface of providing an adequate education for the kids."

And her daughter weighed in too.

"It's hard to handle all these students with less teachers, with less counselors, and less secretaries. it's going to be hard," she reflected.

If city council comes back with less than $180 million in funding for the school district, Pastor Kevin Johnson is calling on every parent to not send their child to what he claims is unsafe schools.

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