Schools' need for money center of attention in Philadelphia
by Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks
Time is running out on efforts to close the Philadelphia School District's $300 million budget shortfall. Mayor Nutter led a rally for school funding in South Philadelphia while City Council continues to wrestle with the budget.
Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer" might well be the theme song for the Philadelphia Public Schools, and it was served up with energy at the rally by a student rock band at Andrew Jackson Elementary School in South Philadelphia. The school is a melting pot of 29 different ethnic groups and a place where students and faculty go the extra mile, resulting in wonders like a grade school rock band that can give a professional-sounding performance.
Philadelphia Public Schools Superintendent William Hite said schools like this that immerse kids in music and art from kindergarten up face a grim future without new money.
"It's a shame that we are having a conversation about being able to maintain that as opposed to investing more of those resources as we move forward," Hite said at the rally.
Nutter said that he won't let the District slip into what he called "a nightmare" of educational opportunities and that he is committed to finding an additional $60 million in city funds, starting with an increase in the liquor-by-the-drink tax.