The Philadelphia school district may have to cut 3,800 positions in order to close a $600 million deficit. Another proposal to make up for the loss of almost $300 million in state funds this year includes eliminating free transportation to and from school.
That means no busing or free SEPTA transpasses for any students except those in special education students and those attending charter schools.
That’s because state law requires the district to provide transportation to and from charter schools. But students who attend public and parochial schools next year could have to pay their own way.
Shelley Yanoff, executive director for Public Citizens for Children and Youth, said the proposal is worrisome.
“We worry about truancy, we worry about them dropping out of school,” she said. “And we make it more expensive for them to come to school when we know that three-quarters of the kids who attend the public schools are low-income.”
Mayor Michael Nutter has made increasing the graduation rate a key goal. But his chief education officer says progress over the last several years in reducing the dropout rate will not be sustainable under the current budget proposal.