By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It is now becoming clear that the School District of Philadelphia’s plan to sell twenty-seven old, unused buildings for about $60 million (see previous stories) has fallen short.
And now the mayor and City Council are grappling over how to make up the difference.
At a Council hearing this morning, school district COO Fran Burns said seven of the 27 buildings have buyers, and the rest are not likely to bring in as much as had been hoped.
“This really is not — of the 20 properties, from a financial position — highly lucrative,” she said. That means the mayor and City Council must make up the difference by June 30th.
Rob Dubow, the mayor’s finance director, said the administration is sending to Council a bill to borrow at least some of that amount.
“We do plan to transmit legislation with regard to a borrowing,” Dubow told KYW Newsradio.
(Mike Dunn:) “And that would be for how much?”
(Dubow:) “We’re working that number out. We’re still working on that.”
Borrowing the money to bail out this short-term school district need was no one’s first plan, but Dubow says with the building sale plan falling short, it seems inevitable.
“We think it’s very unlikely that the building sales would close the whole gap so there’d be no need for a borrowing,” he said.
(Dunn:) “So this is going to happen?”
(Dubow:) “We think it’s very likely.”
If the city does not borrow the full $35 million promised to the school district, the difference would have to come out of other department budgets or the city’s cash reserves.