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Debate Continues At City Hall Over How to Bring The School District $120M

(File photos:  Darrell Clarke, left, by Steve Tawa.  Michael Nutter by Mike Dunn.)

(File photos: Darrell Clarke, left, by Steve Tawa. Michael Nutter by Mike Dunn.)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Mayor Michael Nutter and City Council President Darrell Clarke continue wrangling over a plan that would bring the School District an extra $120-million for the coming year. They’re at odds over how sales tax revenues should be used.

Harrisburg lawmakers last year authorized the city to earmark $120-million a year for the schools by making a temporary one-percent city sales tax hike permanent.

Council President Clarke wants to revise that plan so some of the tax revenue in later years goes to the city workers’ pension fund. That would require state lawmakers to revise their original plan. Whether they’d agree to do so is uncertain and, in the view of some, unlikely.

The mayor and Clarke have been meeting and talking repeatedly over how to move forward. Sources tell KYW Newsradio that one idea would be for City Council to approve Clarke’s plan but with the original funding mechanism included in the bill as a fall-back.

Even if a resolution were reached among all parties, this $120-million would not solve the district’s woes. Right now, the district has a $216-million shortfall in next year’s budget.

Because of rising costs, even if the district gets the $120M, they say they would need $96-million above that from the city and/or the state just to maintain the level of services they provided this year. With those funds, further cuts would be needed.

 

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