Philadelphia Borrows $50M So Its Schools Open on Time

Philadelphia School District officials said that classes would begin Sept. 9 as scheduled, now that the city has vowed to come up with the $50 million the district needs. The news affects 136,000 students and their families, who had feared that the district's 212 schools would open late. Faced with a $304 million deficit, the district laid off nearly 4,000 school employees this summer. Philadelphia School District officials said that classes would begin Sept. 9 as scheduled, now that the city has vowed to come up with the $50 million the district needs -- even though city leaders remain divided about the source of those funds. The news affects 136,000 students and their families, who had feared that the district's 212 schools would open late. Faced with a $304 million deficit, the district laid off nearly 4,000 school employees this summer. The news also caps a tumultuous day in which the School Reform Commission, over union protests, temporarily undid some seniority rules.
August 16, 2013
 

Philadelphia School District officials said that classes would begin Sept. 9 as scheduled, now that the city has vowed to come up with the $50 million the district needs - even though city leaders remain divided about the source of those funds. "Schools will open Sept. 9," Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said emphatically Thursday night. He said earlier in the day that top city officials had met his Friday deadline for pledging the $50 million. "They have assured us they are going to work it out in order to give us access to the funds," he said. The news affects 136,000 students and their families, who had feared that the district's 212 schools would open late. Hite had warned of such a delay if the district could not count on the city's $50 million. His statements capped a tumultuous day in which the School Reform Commission, over union protests, temporarily undid some seniority rules, and Mayor Nutter and City Council President Darrell L. Clarke vowed that the city would cough up the money. Hite said the district still needed additional funds, plus savings and union concessions of more than $120 million, mostly from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. Faced with a $304 million deficit, the district laid off nearly 4,000 school employees this summer. Under a state rescue plan approved in June, the city would borrow $50 million against future collections of its extra 1 percent sales tax. Clarke and Nutter disagree over how much of that revenue should go to schools and how much to pensions.

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