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Budget Cuts Mean Summer School Only Free For Seniors This Year; Underclassmen Must Pay

By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Severe budget cuts mean that only seniors will have access to remedial summer school in the Philadelphia School District. Underclassmen, if they want summer school, will have to pay.

"We've had to make really difficult decisions. None of them are what we'd like to do," says Vicki Ellis, the school district's director of after-school programs.

This year's summer school is being limited to about 600 seniors who need a credit or two to graduate, and some federally-funded freshman orientation programs.

"Given our budget situation, our summer program is obviously far reduced," Ellis explained.

Ellis says for thousands of underclassmen who need that extra credit to be promoted, they face paying one of two private providers, or being left back.

"This is the first summer in a while that they have not had access to a summer program to recover credits here. So, the tuition costs anywhere between $250 per credit, maybe between $250 and $300 per credit between the two high schools."

The district is holding federally-funded bridge programs for high school freshmen, and it's partnering with the city to hold some summer enrichment programs.

"We made the decision to focus on seniors -- try to get as many kids graduated as possible. So, I guess you could say we focused the funding that we did have on our seniors."

Thursday (6/14) is the last regular day for Philadelphia public school students. Summer school for seniors begins July 2.

Click here for more information about the school district's summer school program.

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