Editor's Note: Watch Randi Kaye’s full report tonight on Anderson Cooper 360 at 10 PM.
Randi Kaye | BIO
How would you feel if your child came home from school with a request he or she return the next day with paper towels and toilet paper? Yes, toilet paper!
Can you imagine? That’s how bad it got for one public school in Detroit. The district, like so many others around the country, is out of money so it’s asking parents to send much needed items like that to school. We looked at schools across the country that are broken and crumbling. In Miami, they are so overcrowded that students are learning in temporary trailers on the playground. In Ohio, just outside Cleveland, a school superintendent sent a letter to then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson asking for $100 million to help save his district which has 1200 students crammed into a building that was made to hold 800 students. In that district, maintenance closets have been turned into classrooms. It’s that bad! And did you hear about the teacher in San Diego who started selling “ad space” on his exams to help pay for the paper it cost to print the tests themselves? Parents were buying the ad space to help. He raised about $600.
How did it get so bad? Well schools get money, in part, from taxes and because of this economic slump, property taxes are way down, so the states are facing deficits and the schools aren’t getting the precious tax dollars they need.
But the good news for public schools is the new stimulus package just approved should pump about $100 billion into their budgets. How much each state gets is determined by the population of school-age children but at this point, many districts will take anything they can!
I went to a school in Yonkers, New York today, not far from Manhattan, where scaffolding and plastic has been holding up a crumbling roof for years. The school can’t afford to replace it. That is all they can do to keep the concrete roof from collapsing on the students.
Did things really have to get this bad?
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