Philadelphia's cash-strapped public schools have weathered budgetary cuts that did away with day-to-day supplies, but this year some schools are lacking a critical service.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports three Philadelphia School District schools will not have nurses this year.

Officials say 16 schools don't have regular coverage, but a nurse will check in from time to time, if they have a spare moment.

District officials blame the lack of coverage on a higher-than-usual number of retirements, workers on disability, recent resignations and a market that provides nurses with many other job opportunities.

Spokesman Fernando Gallard says the issue does not reflect a lack of focus and priority in regard to students' health.