District officials go to Philly Council in quest for funds
By Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks on May 5, 2014 02:29 PM
Philadelphia School District officials went to City Council on Monday seeking funds to balance the District's budget.
The School District is seeking $75 million plus the entire $120 million that an extension of a 1 percent Philadelphia sales tax premium would generate. The District brought its big guns to make its case for more funding, including Meredith Elementary principal Cindy Farlino.
"We are trying to make it work, but we can only carry this so far," she said. "The thread we are holding is being stretched to the limit, and we hope and we know that you can throw us a rope."
District Superintendent William Hite acknowledged the prospect of cuts in city service in order to give the District the money it needs.
"I'm proud to say that I am a homeowner in the city, I'm a taxpayer in the city, and I appreciate all those other services, some of which as a taxpayer or a homeowner I could let go or see discontinued," he said. "Schools don't have the ability to discontinue."
Times are tough at the District, which this year operated on a bare-bones budget, said Bill Green, School Reform Commission chairman.
"We know that our principals, teachers and support staff are holding things together with duct tape and stretching to the breaking point in their efforts to protect students as much as possible from the impact," Green said to his former colleagues on City Council. "Most shameful of all, we know that our students know they aren't getting a fair chance to succeed."