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Protesters Rally Against School District Budget Cuts

By Ileana Diaz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)--Hundreds of George Sharswood students marched to Philadelphia School District Headquarters in an attempt to save their two teachers from being let go.

Over 600 people, including every student, signed a petition. This is an issue that brought one 7th grader to tears.

"They mean a lot to me. When I first came to the school, Ms. Denbeck made me feel better because I didn't have a lot of friends. I don't want them to leave," said Alexandra Palmisano, a student.

"These kids are attached to these teacher, they need to leave them where they are," said parent Janine Mcalonan.

A district spokesman says the teachers are out due to leveling. That is when teachers are placed in a classroom and after evaluating class size, the district chooses to consolidate depending on the school's needs. The ratio now is 33 students per teacher.

"At the beginning of the school year we were operating on a bare bones budget even on their standards and now to get more money and to lose more at this moment makes no sense whatsoever," said parent Rebecca Poyourow.

And students are being shuffled, too. Third and fourth graders from Cook Wissahickon rallied outside their school after finding out they are moving to split classrooms. That would squeeze third and fourth graders into one classroom. That is two different grade levels with just one teacher.

Parents tell us this move sets children up to fail and that students deserve proper staffing. One parent wanted to know why additional state money wasn't being used to fix the problem.

"Not one dollar of that 45 million dollars will go to relieve overcrowded classrooms or split grades in which students don't get what they need," said Poyourow.

The district will begin implementing split level classrooms on Monday.


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