Tonight is the first of a series of public meetings on the Philadelphia School District's 2011-12 budget. I'll be live blogging and Tweeting (http://www.twitter.com/newskag) from the meeting, which will be held at Meredith Elementary in South Philly.
Remember: we're talking about a $2.8 billion budget, including $629 million in cuts.
What to expect? Lots of people, for one. I know multiple parents groups are mobilizing folks to come out and speak their mind. If previous district meetings are any indication, there will also be some kind of Powerpoint presentation about the budget before the floor is opened up for people to speak. The meeting is scheduled to start and 6 and go until 8.
Hot topics are likely to be the proposed loss of full-day kindergarten, lopping off of most of the transportation budget and class sizes rising.
One mom whose son is registered for kindergarten at Meredith, a high-achieving school in the Queen Village neighborhood, said that naturally, the loss of a full-day K is her biggest concern, but she's also planning on speaking out against the other cuts. "Once something is cut, it's incredibly difficult to get back." Even the cuts that won't affect her son next year will hit him down the line, she said.
It should be a lively meeting, and I will bring you updates. Please think good thoughts for me getting a seat next to an electrical outlet, OK?
If you'd like to read some background on the budget, here are some recent stories I've written: