Philadelphia School District awaiting vote from City Council on funding

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As the school year comes to a close, the Philadelphia School District is awaiting word from City Council on more funding.

As the school year comes to a close, the Philadelphia School District is awaiting word from City Council on more funding.

"Once again, we're in a situation where we don't have the level of certainty on what we will have or what we will be able to provide," said Supt. William Hite.

Supt. Hite says he's been down that road before and was forced to make very painful cuts in the school district's budget the last few years.

He says this year is different.

"We have no other place to cut. We've been very clear with that," said Supt. Hite.

The district was seeking $103 million in additional revenue from the city.

But City Council on Wednesday gave initial approval to raise property taxes, use and occupancy taxes and parking taxes. That would only produce another $70 million for schools.

"It is tough out here, we have raised a significant amount of taxes over the last several years and we're doing it again. But we do need the school district to look at things in a different way," said City Council President Darrell Clarke.

In fact, City Council will consider a resolution on Thursday calling for a fiscal oversight committee, similar to the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA), to oversee the school district.

"We think it's clearly time to have a very aggressive approach as it relates to making sure that the fiscal house is in order to talk about the restructuring of the school district's budget - which is extensive," said Councilman Clarke.

"If we had to go back and find $40 million in savings, then the only thing left to do is increase class sizes. Our class sizes are already 33 so that's not something I'm willing to do just yet," said Supt. Hite.

City Council will hold a final vote on June 18th. After that, members will go on summer recess and won't return until September.

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