I once heard a janitor say that the school would be clean “if it weren’t for all those darned kids.”
Effective on February 11, Philadelphia public schools will be quiet on weekends and evenings.
According to Kristen Graham of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the School District of Philadelphia “will cancel all weekend programs and shut school buildings an hour early during the week in order to save $2.8 million.” The move is designed to help close “a $61 million budget gap by June.” This move comes on the heels of layoffs to school police, teachers, school nurses and school psychologists. Budget gap aside, the move today shutters school to those who need it most: our children. None of whom drove the Distict into financial disarray.
For thousands of our children in Philadelphia, schools are the only refuge for our kids. Schools are the only place where they can play safely and well, just be kids. Inside the walls of our schools, our kids can take refuge from the outside ills of the world. Our kids who are involved in evening and weekend City of Department Recreation activities will be impacted. In my own family, my three daughters play indoor soccer and basketball in public school buildings on nights and weekends. It was not easy to explain to my seven year old daughter why next Saturday may be her last basketball game of the season, ending a month early. She didn’t understand. Neither do I.
I am not going to bury my head in the sand and deny that the District does not have financial difficulties. Is this the way to solve it? Closing our buildings to our kids? Maybe the District will reconsider and remember who it needs to keep in its mind first and foremost: our kids.