JOHN TULENKO: Last month, about 1,000 ninth graders marched to the football field at Northeast High School for a very different kind of kickoff ceremony.
WOMAN: We are doing a mock graduation. It’s an opportunity for our incoming ninth grade class to make a commitment. We want to put the urge in them that they promise they are going to be right back here in June 2018.
JOHN TULENKO: But hanging over this ceremony and the odds students will graduate is a school budget crisis that’s been called the worst in the country. Northeast has 3,000 students and two principals, Sharon McColskey and Linda Carroll.
SHARON MCCOLSKEY, Northeast High: In past years, operating budgets were probably 10 times what ours is right now, if not more.
Just the thought of opening the schools with what we have in the bank, real or in our budget, was really scary.