By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — City officials have unveiled a plan they hope will alleviate what is arguably Philadelphia’s biggest economic problem: its 28-percent poverty rate, the highest of any big city in the country.

But critics say the five-point plan overlooks one key factor.

According to Mayor Nutter, millions of dollars in federal and state funds go unused in Philadelphia because eligible recipients don’t apply for them.  A key part of the plan is breaking down barriers to those benefits.

“This plan will maximize every anti-poverty dollar that comes into the city while also seeking new funding,” the mayor announced.

The plan promises greater access to job training, health care, food security, housing, and early childhood services, “so that children enter school prepared to learn.”

But it makes no mention of the time-honored path out of poverty: public eduation.

The city schools are in dire straits, with a $300-million budget gap.  But although the mayor talked about greater collaboration among agencies, he preferred to leave the school district out of the discussion today.

“It’s two totally separate and distinct issues,” he said in response to a question.

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