By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia School Reform Commission, facing a huge deficit, presented its budget to City Council today with a strong pitch for more money.

The School District of Philadelphia says that without an additional $94 million from the mayor’s “Actual Value Initiative” property tax overhaul (see related story), schools may not have enough personnel to open in the fall.

Will City Council approve AVI, or will aid to the school district take some other form?  Those were the questions hanging in the room in City Council chambers today.

The school district faces a $218-million deficit next year, even assuming that the district gets that extra $94 million from the city.

SRC chairman Pedro Ramos and “chief recovery officer” Thomas Knudsen painted a picture of flat state and federal funding and rising district expenses as the need for more money from the city.

The Philadelphia school district does have a long-term plan. Its five-year plan calls for downsizing central administration and closing 64 school buildings to bring the district back into financial balance, but City Council president Darrell Clarke told Ramos that the district is “assuming” it will get $94 million more from the city.

He asked Ramos, where is the similar pressure on the state to increase its funding?


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