Funding Breakthrough for Philly Public Schools

Philadelphia School District received some good news at Thursday night's School Reform Commission meeting.

It seems that city leaders are ready to borrow an additional $30 million for the struggling school system, and that's enough to make a major dent in the district's overwhelming deficit.

"The city has now given us everything that we asked for in out initial request," said School Reform Commission Chairman William Green.

Which means, in total, the city's contribution to Philly's public schools will likely be $120 million from sales taxes, $27 million in previously planned borrowing and now, $30 million more.

And although the funds should be enough to prevent the elimination of school programs and teacher layoffs in the already struggling school system, district and city officials say they still have a long road ahead in closing the nearly $320 million dollar deficit.

Next, the school district says it will push state leaders to allow a $2 a pack cigarette tax, which could raise as much as $45 million next year for city schools.

"There is still much more work to be done," Mayor Michael Nutter said at Thursday's meeting.

Work that includes extracting tens of millions of dollars in concessions from the teacher's union.

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