Phila. schools ask City Council for millions
CENTER CITY - May 24, 2011 (WPVI) -- School district bosses came hats-in-hand Tuesday looking for money from City Council to save popular programs now on the chopping block. Those programs include full-day kindergarten and student transportation.
Monday, council was told the "ask" would be $50 to $55 million. Tuesday they were told that figure could double.
"It would be $75 to $110 million," said Philadelphia School District Superintendent Arlene Ackerman. "That would include restoration of full-day kindergarten and all the transportation cuts."
After a lunchtime meeting, Ackerman said the mayor had signed on to the $75 to $110 million dollar request.
Skeptical Council members question where that money would come from. Most figured it would involve further cuts in existing city services or a significant school tax hike.
"There's not the political will for a tax hike, so we'll continue the discussion," said Councilman W. Wilson Goode, Jr.
"I guess you could increase taxes maybe up to 17% and get there, but who could be for that?" said Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell.
Late Tuesday, the Mayor, committed to finding the millions, was asked if Council members were wrong about the need for either service cuts or tax hikes.
"Those are certainly two of a variety of options," said Nutter. "As I mentioned earlier, this is not going to be easy. But it is a problem and a challenge worth fighting for. Every now and then in this business you just have to stand up and do the right thing.
The mayor called this a leadership moment. He says he is committed to looking at all the different options, he is committed to doing the right thing for school kids in Philadelphia, and he is committed to finding that $75 to $110 million.
The question remains, where will that money come from?
philadelphia, pennsylvania, center city, philadelphia city council, philadelphia school district, local/state, john rawlins
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