Hunger Schools

by
Abby Zimet

What's Wrong With This Picture Dept: Facing a budget deficit of $304 million, the Philadelphia school district has instituted a "doomsday" budget that will close 23 schools, lay off 3,800, or 20% of its employees, and eliminate clubs, aides, counselors, librarians, athletics, art and music programs that include 66 music teachers at 190 schools teaching over 10,000 students who present over a thousand concerts a year - all this while the GOP-controlled legislature and governor seek union concessions, pass corporate tax breaks up to $800 million a year, and plan to spend $400 million for a new prison. In response, furious parents and school workers are camped out at the governor’s office in the 8th day of a hunger strike - a hunger strike - to get schools to do what they're supposed to do even as Democrats scramble to find more money for the schools before a June 30 budget deadline and music teachers and students performed a bittersweet farewell concert. It was held this weekend, just as the Navy received its first, super-duper, new-and-improved (except for years of technical glitches which may or may not have been solved) F-35 aircraft, whose costs have doubled to at least $161 million each. The Pentagon Plans to build several thousand, at a cost of $12.6 billion a year through 2037, or $1.4 million an hour - about the duration of the farewell concert - for the next two and a half decades.

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