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City Council Pledges 30-Million Dollars In Additional Funding For Philadelphia School District

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PHILADELPHIA -

Good news for financially ailing public schools in Philadelphia, with a budget deadline looming, city council today pledged 30-million dollars in additional funding for the school year beginning in September.

The buzz that council would pony up for the district began Wednesday night. By meeting time, it was official: 30-million dollars in new funding to be borrowed by the city and given to the district this fall.

Blondell Reynolds Brown sponsored the measure.

"For the fourth year, City Council is stepping up to the plate, to deliver additional, needed funding to support our schools,” Brown said.

On Tuesday, district officials and education advocates publicly pleaded for 96-million in new dollars, just to keep up with this year's "wholly inadequate" funding levels. They asked for 28-million from city lawmakers.

Over the past several years, city schools have seen massive lay-offs among teachers and support staff. Building maintenance has been deferred and student safety has suffered. Education advocates have hammered city lawmakers to open the purse strings.

The district and those advocates want state lawmakers to allow the city to generate extra school funds with a Philly only tax hike on cigarettes.

The deadline for that is fast approaching. And school officials want concessions from the teachers' union to further ease the budget crisis.

Neither of those options are a sure thing. But today, one major hurdle was cleared.

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