School District of Philadelphia may privatize nurses

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The School District of Philadelphia is considering replacing 183 unionized school nurses with those from a private firm.

The cash-strapped school district had 100 more nurses as recently as 2011 but has cut those jobs to save money. Now, the district has issued a request for proposals from private health care providers to provide the service the district now spends about $24 million on annually. Each nurse costs the district about $130,000 annually in pay and benefits.

The nurses are represented by the teachers' union, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

Union president Jerry Jordan calls the moved a "short-sighted, Band-Aid solution."

He also notes that 26 percent of the city's students live in poverty, so a school nurse might be the only health care professional some students see.

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