Phila. City Council approves $120 million for schools

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Philadelphia City Council has given final approval to a bill that will give the school district $120 million in sales tax revenue. (WPVI)

Philadelphia City Council has given final approval to a bill that will give the school district $120 million in sales tax revenue.

While it's more than welcome, this doesn't come close to solving the district's money problems.

A band of school children and parents from Southwest Philadelphia protested outside Governor Tom Corbett's Center City office on Thursday morning, calling for increases in funding.

"Fund our schools, do it now," the children and parents chanted.

"Governor Corbett, it's really easy even elementary kids can get this," said one of the protesters added.

Earlier they poured into City Hall moments before City Council approved a transfusion of $120 million, newly generated by a new sales tax.

"We want more, which is why we are asking our good friends in the general assembly and the governor's office to give us the authorization to enact a $2 a pack cigarette tax," said Council President Darrell Clark.

This latest funding crisis has generated weeks of street demonstrations.

Emergency funds in the $50-million range are needed to finish out this school year.

School officials say they need a total of $440 million to get back to the level before last year's drastic personnel and budget cuts that featured 3,800 layoffs.

City Hall says it is time to look to state lawmakers and the governor for assistance.

Mayor Michael Nutter, who visited Bartram High School on Thursday, said the additional funds are necessary.

"We need the general assembly, even with the budgetary challenges in Harrisburg, we need them to look at the possibility of adding some addition dollars all across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania but certainly Philadelphia would benefit from an increase in education funding right now," said Mayor Nutter.

"We are finding quarters in couches to take care of our kids and we need the state to help us out," said Councilman Curtis Jones.

The school district is expected to get at least an additional $25 million once they close a deal to sell the old University High School building to Drexel University.

Related Topics:
educationphiladelphia school districteducationschool fundingschoolphiladelphia city councilphilly newsCenter City Philadelphia
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