College applications suffer under Philly school counselor cuts

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By City Paper’s Daniel Denvir – Students and parents across Philadelphia are scrambling to meet Jan. 1 college application deadlines amid a budget crisis and deep cuts to the ranks of school counselors.

Some Philadelphia high schools reached a counselor-to-student ratio of 1 to 3,000 this fall, according to Philly School Counselors United. That’s much higher than the 1-to-250 ratio recommended by the American School Counselor Association.

The School District of Philadelphia, following budget cuts made by Gov. Tom Corbett that aggravated a long-term fiscal crisis, opened this school year with 3,000 fewer staff members than last year. In September, there were only 126 counselors, down 236 from the 362 on staff the year before. Recently, the District rehired some laid-off counselors after Corbett, facing mounting political pressure, released $45 million in one-time federal funds that he had withheld over demands for concessions from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

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