On-time Philly school opening is relief, but parents still frustrated over uncertainty

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While news that Philadelphia public schools will open on time next month came as a relief to parents throughout the city, many said they are still frustrated by the financial worries that have cast uncertainty on whether schools will open their doors.

Politicians and parents alike are frustrated over the last-minute questions about whether Philly schools would open on time.

“I understand it’s really hard for the teachers and the administrators, but it’s also just so hard for the parents — the uncertainty,” said Fairmount resident Carolyne Dilgard-Clark.

Despite the problems, Dilgard-Clark said she’s sticking with public schools. Her son will start third grade this year, and her daughter will enter kindergarten.

“I have definitely heard other people speak about this being the last straw,” she said Friday shortly after schools Superintendent William Hite announced the on-time opening. “And I think, for parents of younger children, it’s very hard to plan and commit to a public school when you see this type of behavior from the school district. It’s hard to make plans.”

Facing an $81 million budget gap, Hite had considered initiating mass layoffs or shortening the school year. He opted for the middle ground of opening schools on time but making additional cuts.

“For the sake of minimizing disruptions for families, and for the sake of educating children, we’ve made the decision to make a series of additional difficult and hopefully temporary cuts in order to open schools on time,” he said.

Dilgard-Clark said she’s not surprised other families have considered moving or if they can afford it, opting for private school. But that’s not for her. She said she’s not pulling her kids out because leaving the district won’t fix anything.

Instead, she said she’s committed to improving her neighborhood public school.

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