By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The School District of Philadelphia is spending money in the hopes of saving money.

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The School Reform Commission has awarded a $1.4-million contract to the Boston Consulting Group, to help the district identify efficiencies as it decentralizes its operations.

Thomas Knudsen, the district’s “chief recovery officer,” says there are plenty of ways the district could streamline operations.

“Right now, we dispatch buses using grease pencils,” he notes by way of example.  “That’s how primitive this is.”

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Meanwhile, SRC chair Pedro Ramos says he’s talking with philanthropic sources about covering the cost of the contract.

“I am sufficiently confident that we can raise the bulk of the funds needed for this effort,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

The district has to cut $39 million in spending by June to balance this year’s budget.

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