By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia city and school district officials had some good news yesterday for the athletic and community groups who use public schools for their winter programs. The city is picking up part of the tab to keep those activities going.

Faced with a staggering deficit, the Philadelphia School District announced last winter that it could no longer afford to keep schools open for activities that went past six, unless they imposed a user fee — a possibility that had community groups up in arms.

That was avoided, Mayor Nutter told a news conference, by consolidating programs in fewer schools and rescheduling custodians to eliminate overtime. That brought the cost down from $4-million to about $1-million dollars.

Nutter says the city agreed to kick in $338,000 and the district will pay $800,000.

“We tried to be as mindful as possible about what’s most important here. That our young people have the opportunity to be in safe and enjoyable programs overseen by those who care very passionately about children.”

Nutter says some groups may be facing new times and locations for their programs but all requests have been accommodated.

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