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Phila. Council Gives Final OK To Alternative $50M School Funding Measure

(Philadelphia City Council.  File photo by Steve Tawa)

(Philadelphia City Council. File photo by Steve Tawa)

Steve Tawa Steve Tawa
Steve Tawa joined KYW Newsradio in 1990, and splits his time between...
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By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Even though Mayor Nutter is against it, Philadelphia City Council today voted unanimously to approve its own plan to provide $50 million for the school district.

City Council president Darrell Clarke says school district assets are sitting vacant and have value.  His colleagues agree, and today voted 17-0 to transfer $50 million to the schools, then sell those buildings to private interests (see related story).

“We will put in place a process that will allow these derelict vacant buildings, one of which actually caught fire the other day, to be repurposed and to provide long-term revenue for the city and improve these neighborhoods,” Clarke said.

Clarke says his staff has so far received 11 expressions of interest.

Five of the buildings are in Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell’s district in West Philadelphia.

“I have school providers and those willing to do low-income housing or senior citizen homes,” Blackwell said today.

Mayor Nutter favors using sales tax money to close the school funding gap (see related story), but he did not find a single ally on Council to introduce that legislation, let alone vote for it.

The mayor did not immediately indicate whether he will veto the measure approved today.