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Cash-strapped Philadelphia School District Requests Millions From City, State

By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The cash-strapped Philadelphia School District is asking the city and the state for more money to help balance its budget.

The district has closed two dozen schools, it’s banking on salary cuts of an average ten percent from its employees, and it cut central office staff in half. But Superintendent William Hite says there’s still a $242 million dollar budget hole.

“Even with all of those concessions — even thinking in the ideal world if we were able to achieve all of those — we still have a budget gap to fill,” Hite says.

So the district is asking the city for $60 million in new money, and the state for $120 million more.

“Now that the SRC has asked both the state and the city to consider more revenue, I know that the mayor and City Council will give it serious consideration,” says Lori Shorr, the mayor’s chief education officer.

Hite says he’s agnostic on how the money is raised — he just wants the funding.

Mayor Nutter has issued a statement saying he will “seriously consider” the school district’s request for extra money.  But, he points out that the city increased its contribution to the district for the past three years, even as the city government coped with the affects of the recession.

The mayor’s new budget, introduced earlier this month, includes no extra funding for the district.  City Council’s review of Nutter’s proposed spending plan got underway earlier this week, and the district’s request for an extra $60 million will now be folded into that debate.

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