Local/State

Mayor's three-pronged proposal for school funding

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Mayor Michael Nutter sent City Council an open framework for raising revenues for the Philadelphia School District.

In it, the proposed three possible options involve a hike in Center City and University City street parking, sugary drinks, and property taxes.

Council says it wants to see the restoration of full day kindergarten, smaller classes, and transportation.

But at this point, there is little appetite for raising taxes for the third year in a row.

"I don't see it happening," Council President Anna Verna said.

"I am skeptical about everything, it's too hard, I'm not for increasing taxes cause I don't know where they think people will have the money," Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell said.

A few council members are openly suspicious of the District's plea that it must have $75-million to $110-million a year or else.

Councilman Bill Green thinks the school brass is putting popular successful programs on the chopping block to enflame passions while protecting other less critical programs. Green claims there is fat to trim.

"I have identified plenty of resources within the school district including 23-million for 16 days of summer school, including the $2.8-million communications budget which has increased 25-percent this year," Councilman Green said.

The mayor today seemed to dismiss skeptics of the district.

"You can always find something else to cut and it'll just have some other negative impact somewhere else," Mayor Nutter said.

Higher parking fees, a tax on sugary drinks, a property tax hike are all options that would make being in Philadelphia more expensive. The mayor signals it's worth it; many City Council members are far from convinced.

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Tags:
philadelphia, pennsylvania, mayor michael nutter, philadelphia city council, philadelphia school district, local/state, john rawlins
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