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Philadelphia Schools Will Open On Time

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PHILADELPHIA -

It was a sigh of relief from parents like Sedea James, knowing that Philadelphia public schools will be filled with children on September 9th

"That's great because I need my kids to go back to school," says James.

Michelle Morris and her 9 year old daughter Jem also have waited all summer for this.

"I am actually happy," says Jem Morris.

"I will not risk a catastrophe. We will avoid this disaster" says Mayor Nutter.

Today, Mayor Michael Nutter and City Council presented separate plans to get 50 million dollars for the school district. This is just what the superintendent needs to open schools on time and rehire about 1,000 of the 3,800 laid off staff.

"I am not going to let this crisis ruin the start of what is a prominent school year," says Mayor Nutter.

The mayor wants to borrow the money, while city council is adamant about selling school property.

"We do not support the 50 million borrowing," says Council President Darrell Clarke.

Despite the big announcement, many teachers and parents still have concerns with the district. Michelle Morris has been teaching at Jackson Elementary School for 5 years.

"Even though it's opening, it's not going to solve the problems that still exist or are going on," says Morris. "Even though they say they're opening, to what? What is the state we're opening to"

Anitra Fields is taking her four kids out of the district and homeschooling them.

"They're not getting a good education. They're not learning the things they need to learn," says Fields.

Parents United for Public Education issued a statement on today's developments. The statement reads, in part:

The $50 million will ensure inequity of resources across the District. $50 million ensures that the majority of our schools will open with inadequate safety and teaching staff. It is unconscionable that schools have been given zero book and supply dollars, or that schools with libraries cannot open because the District fails to allocate librarians. Dr. Hite has publicly said that guidance counselors, school aides and teachers will be distributed at the discretion of central office to the "largest and neediest" schools. This too is unacceptable. All children are needy. Every child deserves access to a guidance counselor. Every child deserves to have a school aide watching out for them in the lunchroom and on the play yard.

As for what's next, City Council will have to vote on both plans when session resumes in the fall. Councilman Jim Kenney tells FOX 29 that if the mayor decides to veto the council's plan, then fine, they will cross that bridge when they come to it.

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