By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Eight weeks of hearings on the Philadelphia city budget will begin Monday. The focus will be on the need for a property tax increase to fund schools.

Mayor Jim Kenney has already revised downward his requested property tax increase and it’s likely council will want to reduce it further. That’s why councilman Bill Greenlee says the hearings are so important.

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“Going over each department, seeing if there’s any savings to be had, are there alternatives to the proposals the mayor presented,” Greenlee said.

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The mayor’s current proposal is for a 4% increase in the property tax rate, with the new revenue, estimated at $966 million over five years, to assure full funding for the school district.

Councilman Curtis Jones says council would also like to see the schools funded so, though it’s not completely sold on the tax increase as proposed, it will have to make the numbers add up.

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“The mayor has set lofty goals about education being a priority,” Jones said, “so now it’s time to look and find out how do we pay for that.”