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Philadelphia School District Says State Shorted It Another $35 Million

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - More financial troubles for the Philadelphia School District: officials say it appears the latest version of the state budget leaves the district with another big hole to fill.

"We have some very brutal math to deal with," Michael Masch, the school district's chief financial officer, said today.  Masch says the legislature did give the district $22 million in block grant money but failed to provide $57 million in charter school reimbursements, leaving the district a fresh $35 million short (see related story).

That's on top of the $629 milliion in budget cuts made last month (another related story).

(Michael Masch.)

Masch (right) says the district is also banking on $75 million in concessions from its labor unions, before a Thursday deadline.

"We're not talking about a cut," Masch said of the giveback demands.  "We're talking about avoiding an increase.  If we can avoid that increase, we can save hundreds of jobs."

The largest union, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, has refused to reopen its contract.  Teachers are scheduled for a three-percent raise in January.  But state law gives the School Reform Commission the power to cancel and rewrite contracts -- something the SRC has never done before.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio 1060

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