Philadelphia Cuts School Nurses
Philly schools suffer 40 percent decline of school nurses in just two years due to budget cuts Philadelphia sixth-grader Laporshia Massey died shortly after suffering an asthma attack at school on September 25. No nurse was on duty. In 2011, 289 school nurses worked in Philadelphia. Currently, 179 such nurses work in the district—a decline of nearly 40 percent. Eileen DiFranco, a certified school nurse in the Philadelphia school district, says that massive cuts in state funding have led to an understaffed public school system. “And, unfortunately, in spite of all this, our governor continues to hold the school district hostage,” says DiFranco. “There's $45 million which he has refused to provide to the school district unless the unions give back 10 percent of our salaries. So I feel that our governor is playing chicken, a mean-spirited game of chicken with vulnerable children.” “We can't say for sure whether a nurse being there that day, whether they could have foreseen what would happen or saved Laporshia's life,” says Daniel Denvir, a reporter at the Philadelphia City Paper. “But that's a big question that the parents have and that a lot of people in Philadelphia are asking right now." Denvir also says that Philadelphia Governor Corbett refuses to close tax loopholes and end corporate tax breaks in order to provide additional tax revenue for public education. In June, the GOP-controlled state legislature passed a corporate tax cut estimated to cost the state between $600-$800 million a year—more than double the deficit for the Philadelphia schools during the next fiscal year.