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Parents Meet With Superintendent Hite To Get Answers

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PHILADELPHIA -

We are just days away from the start of school and it looks like the on-going budget battle won't end anytime soon.

Parents with the Philadelphia Home and School Council were meeting, earlier this evening, with superintendent Dr. William Hite to ask him, up front, what the school year will look like when they're kids head to class next week.

This meeting takes place after drastic cuts to help fill a 304 million dollar deficit.

11-year-old Alex is starting 6th grade next week at Masterman Middle School and she's worried about what class will be like with major district-wide layoffs in place.

"There's more students because there are less teachers and then there's no music, which is really annoying because I love to sing and I love playing and doing drama," she says. "I'm scared because I'm worried that they're going to start cutting students because they can't handle them anymore, or I might not be able to go to school or people are going to lose jobs."

Her mom is worried too and went to district headquarters for answers.

"I was hoping for specifics about a security plan and safety plan for the kids. And a resources plan," says Pattie Gillett.

We talked to other parents going in too, like Carmella Cappetti. She was joined by her son who will be a senior at Franklin Learning Center. She says that his senior class will be left with just one counselor next year. One counselor to help him and hundreds of other seniors apply to college and plan their futures.

She says the district is leaving him behind and wants officials to make good on their obligations to students.

"Our money goes into pay their salaries, listen to us. We want what we think our kids need and these are important things. We need nurses, we need counselors, we need supportive staff," Cappetti says.

Pattie says she only got 15 minutes of the superintendent's time and did not get a good feel for the environment her daughter will be stepping into.

"There are schools that don't have enough teachers, but he didn't seem ready to address any of that. And he said there was a plan but we really didn't hear the details of a plan," says Gillett.

"They keep saying that kids are going to show up on Monday? Ok. Show up and do what?" says a second parent.

"I feel like I got some answers and I feel like it also raised more questions," says a third frustrated parent.

A district spokesman declined to comment on the meeting and Dr. Hite was not made available to tell us his account of the talks.

For now, Alex and her mom say that they feel no one's listening with just days left before the school bell rings.

"I'm a parent. I do care. I just don't know if anyone else does," says Gillett.

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