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Philly School's Budget Okay For Now, Though Future Looks Grim

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A preliminary version of the School District budget projects enough money for next year, but growing deficits looming after that.

The School District expects to have $104 million left over after this year, and $33 million next year. But without new revenues, the district at the end of its five-year plan projects a shortfall of $900 million.

District Chief Financial Officer Uri Monson said, "We are the same place that we were last year, just one year closer to that fiscal cliff."

Monson says charter costs and employee benefits are next year's main cost drivers.

He says the district does NOT plan to ask City Council for a tax increase to fund next year's $2.9 billion budget, nor does the district plan to close school buildings next year. But the following year the district expects to begin closing three schools a year, as students move to charters.

Monson says the five-year plan budgets $192 million for potential new labor agreements with teachers, principals and other staff.

The School Reform Commission Thursday approved a preliminary version of its budget called the lump sum statement. The SRC votes in May on the final budget.

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