Philly schools get half of what they need from City Council

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Students walked out of class and onto the streets to rally for more funding on Wednesday. And while they demonstrated throughout Philadelphia, district leaders took their case to Harrisburg looking for more state funding.

But all of it ended with news neither the students nor the administrators wanted to hear when Philadelphia City Council shot down half of what the school district had been seeking from the city.

The district had been hoping the Council Finance Committee would approve a $55 million loan that would be repaid through a 1% extension of the sales tax starting next year. Instead, the committee approved just $27 million.

Dozens of students walked out of class again to protest the funding shortfall - a protest that was planned before city council's action today.

They marched on City Hall and then onto Governor Corbett's office on South Broad Street. They say the budget slashing has short changed them, leading to a tough year.

The district is looking at a $96 million shortfall. It would need $440 million just to return to where it was last year before laying off 3800 employees.

The district had counted on $50 million from selling unused buildings, but it has fallen short of that goal.

It went to city council for a stop gap loan to cover that difference. But the finance committee today refused the full amount.

Council President Darrell Clarke says the district left that money on the table last year, instead of allowing the city to handle the school sales then and reimbursing the district.

School district spokesman Fernando Gallard explains, "They decided to give us a $27 million loan, meaning that we'll have to look for $28 million in cuts next year."

When asked how much more the district can cut, Gallard replied, "There's no more to cut."

Schools Superintendent William Hite and School Reform Commission Chairman Bill Green are in Harrisburg right now trying to squeeze more money out of the state.

They're hoping to have more success there than they had here with city council today.
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