By Jenn Bernstein
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was a show of solidarity at the Thomas Mifflin School in East Falls as students, parents, and community advocates staged a rally urging political leaders in Harrisburg and City Hall to help fund a school district budget shortfall of $304 million.
There were the same calls at the Boys Latin of Philadelphia Charter School on Thursday morning, where school leaders stood with Mayor Michael Nutter and District Superintendent Dr. William Hite.
Hite put forth a plan, he says, that involves shared sacrifice.
He’s requested $60 million from the city, $120 million from the state, and he’s asked for more than $100 million in givebacks from the teachers’ union.
On Thursday afternoon, Hite and Mayor Nutter met with 18 to 20 State Representatives at School District Headquarters behind closed doors.
“This is about making sure that they have all of their questions answered around the budget, and to — quite frankly — ask what is it that we can do together to ensure that we’re on one page,” said Dr. Hite.
The Mayor says he needs legislators’ support to pass two city bills that would increase the tax on cigarettes and liquor for district funding.
Harrisburg needs to sign off on both, if City Council approves them.
“There’s a lot of interest in trying to figure out how to generate the dollars necessary to provide a high quality education for our children,” said Mayor Nutter.
Meanwhile, the President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Jerry Jordan, says the School District has made up contract proposals asking for certain concessions.
He says they are in talks now.
“The district needs to be able to justify its budget, and how it is spending its money,” said Jordan.