PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The cash-strapped Philadelphia School District will lay off 17 central office employees as part of an elimination of 81 positions.

District spokesman Fernando Gallard says 64 of the 81 positions being eliminated are currently vacant. He says the cuts are estimated to save the district $5.4 million.

READ MORE: Four Children Among Five Killed In Pottstown Home Explosion, Police Say

The district faces an $81-million deficit and has warned of massive layoffs unless state lawmakers approve a $2-per-pack cigarette tax.

READ MORE: Beach Erosion Will Keep One-Third Of North Wildwood Beaches Closed Memorial Day Weekend

Officials earlier this month announced plans to cut another $32 million in services to free up enough money to start classes on time, Septsember 8th, but said it would mean no school buses for many high school students, buildings cleaned less frequently, and school police officer vacancies going unfilled.  The governor earlier said the state would advance $265 million to the district.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

MORE NEWS: CBS3 SummerFest: 2 St. Joe's Grads Bringing New Tiki Cruise Experience For Adults To Wildwood

You may also be interested in these stories:
[display-posts category=”news” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”5″]