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Even With Sales Tax Revenue, Phila. Schools Prepare to Lay Off 1,000 More Teachers

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- There was another somber budget announcement today from the School District of Philadelphia, which says it needs $216 million just to keep services at the level where they are now -- which officials say is not at all adequate.

Philadelphia schools superintendent William Hite (at right in photo) says he wants to keep the conversation on revenue -- where the needed funds will come from -- and not on the cuts that would ensue if it doesn't arrive.

"This district can no longer cut its way to eliminating deficits," Hite said today.  There's just not enough individuals remaining in the district."

The $2.4-billion budget can't even maintain the current "bare bones" staffing levels and, with nowhere else to cut, CFO Matt Stansky (at left in photo) says, nearly a thousand teachers would have to go.

He says that would raise the typical class size to 40, from levels which are already too high.

"It's extremely frustrating," admits Hite, who says the district really needs $440 million to restore schools to what he considers minimally adequate.

The budget for next year reflects only $96 mllion in cuts.  It assumes the school district will get $120 million from a city sales tax increase, which City Council has not yet approved (see related stories).

If Council doesn't act, the district would have to cut more than 2,300 staff members.



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