NBC10 Philadelphia - Monique Braxton
Students in Philadelphia organized a walkout through social media that took place on Thursday. NBC10's Monique Braxton reports.
Hundreds of Philadelphia school students walked out of class and marched through Center City over severe proposed budget cuts to their education.
At least 300 students from several schools including Benjamin Franklin High School, the Franklin Learning Center and Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts began protesting at Philadelphia City Hall around 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
With SkyForce10 above, the group could be seen marching around City Hall and into the building's courtyard, chanting all the while.
The students then exited the courtyard and began rallying on the southeast corner of the building.
Wearing backpacks and holding handwritten signs, the students could be heard chanting "No ifs, no buts, no education cuts."
One student held up a sign reading "Mayor Nutter We Need Counselors," with Mayor Michael Nutter's photo in the center.
The students tweeted out a photo of the sign with the message: "Students need support! Like counselors! Don't cut these important resources at we need."
Another sign read: "Yes, we actually care!"
Philadelphia Police Captain Brian Korn tweeted additional groups of students were walking from different directions to meet up with the group at City Hall.
The group then took their fight up Broad Street to School District headquarters at 440 North Broad Street -- shutting down the main artery for a time and eventually rallying in front of the building.
The students locked arms as they marched up North Broad to the school district building.
"Showing students power to the powers that be," the group Philly Student Union tweeted from in front of the district headquarters.
On Tuesday, more than 300 students staged a similar protest in front of the School District headquarters regarding the cuts.
The School District of Philadelphia has faced severe financial trouble for some time.
Last month, the district's School Reform Commission said the district has a budget shortfall of at least $300 million.
Officials have proposed cutting all clubs, sports and music programs for the 2013-2014 school year. The district also proposed laying off several counselors and teachers.
They've pleaded for $60 million in additional funding from the city and $120 million from the state of Pennsylvania to help close the gap, but the funding is not a guarantee.
Another $130 million in savings would come through union contract concessions.
In an effort to save additional funds, the district plans to close 24 school buildings. A move that's been hotly debated and protested over the past few months.
The district says it has closed schools and cut staff to save money, but cannot keep pace with rising costs.
As for the student protesters, district spokesman Fernando Gallard says those who left school without permission will be marked as cutting school. He says that is standard policy.