Philadelphia schools to open amid uncertainty

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — About 190,000 students are going back to class Monday in Philadelphia, where parents say severe staffing cuts have created an aura of uncertainty around the new academic year. Officials contend the school district is prepared despite the major budget reductions.

The district laid off nearly 3,800 workers over the summer to close a $304 million deficit. About 1,650 employees have since been rehired with $83 million in restored funds.

Still, parents say they’re worried children won’t be safe or get the academic and social services they need. Plus, many students are adjusting to different buildings because of two dozen school closures.

Education advocates are urging parents to document any problems in official complaints.

The district hopes to recover additional money through ongoing negotiations with city, state and union leaders.

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