Philly school budget hearings resume

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 Philadelphia City Councilwoman says a more than 9 percent property tax hike is not the way to raise revenue for the city's schools. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia City Councilwoman says a more than 9 percent property tax hike is not the way to raise revenue for the city's schools. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Now that the primary elections are over, Philadelphia City Council is poised to resume its budget hearings.  And that means the fight for more school funding also resumes.

After announcing the good news of an improving graduation rate in the city, Mayor Michael Nutter urged City Council to provide the necessary funding for the schools to continue that trend.

“I’m glad the election is over, let’s all kind of get re-engaged, if you will, in the No. 1 issue and challenge in the city, which is educating young people,” said Nutter.

City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, an advocate for education, said Nutter’s plan to achieve that goal —  a property tax hike of more than 9 percent to raise revenue for the schools — just isn’t possible.

The tax hike, which would generate about $105 million annually, was proposed by Nutter as a source of permanent funding for the cash-strapped district.

“We’ve got to find another way, whether we look at departments, whether we tighten up some other way,” she said. “We will respect the mayor and how he wants to do it … except for taxes.”

Discussions on the school district finances are expected to begin Tuesday.

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