Philly school officials update City Council

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 School superintendent William Hite (from left), School Reform Commission chairwoman Marjorie Neff, Council President Darryl Clarke and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell talk over the problems faced by the district. (Tom MacDonals/WHYY)

School superintendent William Hite (from left), School Reform Commission chairwoman Marjorie Neff, Council President Darryl Clarke and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell talk over the problems faced by the district. (Tom MacDonals/WHYY)

At a hearing on the future of Philadelphia’s public schools, City Council heard again about the struggle for resources throughout the district. 

Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, told council members there have been some terrible ideas to overcome those shortfalls, including outsourcing substitute teachers.

“This is an extremely frightening time to be an educator, a student or a parent who relies on public education,” he said.

Things aren’t perfect, said school Superintendent William Hite, but district officials are constantly working to improve the situation.

“We still have far too many students in schools that are not serving their needs,” he said. “And we still have far too many students who are sitting in schools that have not been serving their needs for some time.”

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell called for more input from parents when the district considers changes such as those proposed recently by Hite to close some schools, open others, and turn some over to charter operators.

“Parents and community members should be able to vote for their school being changed or charterized,” she said. “They still should have that right to decide.”

Jordan said Harrisburg is holding the city hostage financially with the stalemate over a Pennsylvania budget. And Hite says more state funding would solve many of the problems .

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