NAACP focuses on Chester Upland School District’s struggles

State budget cuts are hurting the Chester Upland School District, NAACP officials said Tuesday.

The district, which received $10 million less this year from the state, was forced to cut teachers and counselors. It also combined two of its high schools into one.

NAACP attorney Lacy Wheeler said during a news conference those conditions are not conducive to success.

“We want to make sure that the resources and the facilities in the school systems are there,” said Wheeler, “so that the young people who are in those public education institutions have the resources in order to be able to compete in tomorrow’s world.”

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That’s just what senior Ciara Williams, a student at the Science and Discovery High School, said is at risk. She and 40 other students walked out of school to attend the conference in protest of the cuts.

“I just feel totally behind all the students that I’m going to be competing against for college,” said Williams. “It just makes me really sad, because I have a little brother that goes to the same school in the ninth grade, and he has to go through four years of this.”

Superintendent Joyce Wells said the district is doing its best.

“It’s challenging,” she said. “We are doing anything that we need to do to make sure that our students are provided with a sound educational experience.”

While art and music have been cut, Wells says other programs–such as culinary, marketing and dentistry–are intact.

Students will be marked absent for walking out of school Tuesday. They may face in-school suspension.

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