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Funding

NEWS
June 5, 2015 | BY STEPHANIE FARR, Daily News Staff Writer farrs@phillynews.com, 215-854-4225
PHILLY JESUS has started a digital collection plate for his ministries on GoFundMe.com, with a goal of raising $70,000. "We chose 70 because the number seven is God's number," said Philly Jesus, whose real name is Michael Grant. Grant, a 29-year-old recovering heroin addict, has been dressing as Jesus and hanging out at LOVE Park since April 2014. He has a large following on Twitter and Instagram and said he dresses as Jesus as a way to get others to approach him so he can share the story of Christ.
NEWS
June 5, 2015 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-854-4172
WITH JUST TWO weeks to go before City Council recesses for the summer, it does not appear likely that $105 million in new funding for the School District of Philadelphia will be approved, Council President Darrell Clarke said yesterday. "There does not appear to be support for that at this time, after four successive years of raising taxes to the tune of over $350 million," a somber Clarke said. "There's not a lot of appetite to have another significant tax increase. " He said Council would "push forward" to make sure the school district's $85 million budget deficit is dealt with this month, but added that the legislative body would use means other than a tax increase to help the schools provide educational enhancements requested by Superintendent William Hite.
NEWS
June 5, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. understands City Council's frustration - another spring, another multimillion-dollar ask from the perpetually needy Philadelphia school system. And this time, it comes with a request from the mayor for a $105 million property-tax increase. But though it's often glossed over, the Philadelphia School District faces a sizable 2015-16 budget gap, and so the first $85 million that comes in from the city or state does not fund additional counselors or literacy programs.
NEWS
June 5, 2015 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
With a budget deadline looming, Philadelphia City Council is close to crafting its alternative to Mayor Nutter's proposed property-tax hike to fund the city's public schools. In closed-door meetings this week, Council considered four potential revenue streams - building blocks that would fall at least $20 million short of the $103 million the School District has asked for, according to sources familiar with the discussions. On the table are a sale of city tax liens; an increase in the city's use-and-occupancy tax on businesses; a hike to the parking tax; and a real estate tax increase far more modest than the 9.34 percent proposed by Nutter.
NEWS
June 1, 2015 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
TEACHER ERIN Furlong has been hoping that someone would hear her pleas for more classroom resources. Well, the second-grade teacher got a personal audience - albeit brief - yesterday with Gov. Wolf. The governor, who was joined by first lady Frances Wolf, Mayor Nutter and Superintendent William Hite, visited Hunter Elementary as part of his "Schools That Teach" tour to boost his plan for education funding. Wolf's proposal would generate more than a billion dollars by 2017 by imposing a severance tax on natural gas drillers.
NEWS
May 30, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
In the face of steep funding cuts, the city school system is now spending less to educate each student than it had since 2008, and benefits are costing nearly $8,000 more per teacher than they did three years ago. Mix lower revenues with rising fixed costs and the result is fewer dollars spent in Philadelphia School District classrooms, an outside analysis of district finances released Thursday found. Chief financial officer Matthew Stanski said the analysis underscored the points officials were trying to make this week to a skeptical, frustrated City Council: They keep coming back for more money year after year because the money they receive isn't enough to cover their fixed costs.
NEWS
May 29, 2015 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
WHILE NEWS headlines and lawmakers often focus on all that's wrong with the Philadelphia School District, Christine Carlson came before City Council with a different message yesterday: There is plenty going right. Carlson was among more than a dozen parents, educators and school advocates who urged Council to approve $105 million in new, recurring funding for the city's cash-strapped public schools, a topic that has resonated with voters in the last two citywide elections. "Much of the talk [Tuesday]
NEWS
May 29, 2015 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
One day after a heated hearing between City Council and School District officials, on Wednesday, parents, teachers, and advocates had their turn and delivered a straightforward message to Council: We need more funding. "I will stand with City Council and ask those tough questions of the district about what they're planning to do with our money," said Susan Gobreski, executive director of the nonprofit Education Voters Pennsylvania. But "I am here to say to City Council: Please let's pay that bill that we've been sent.
NEWS
May 28, 2015
WE KNEW we were being naïve when we imagined that City Council would come back from the last week's campaigning and roll up its sleeves to address the hard issues of school funding in Philadelphia. Any one of the issues would have been fine: how to come up with the $105 million the district requested of the city, how to fill the $85 million deficit, the erosion of essentials like school nurses and books, or maybe the discouraging disparity - 33 percent, according to a recent study - between funding for rich districts vs. poor ones like ours.
NEWS
May 27, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
It would be a shame if the gains Philadelphia has made in lowering its dropout rate and increasing the number of students who graduate from high school were dealt a setback by inadequate school funding. A report released last week showed that since 2006, the share of ninth graders graduating from Philadelphia high schools in four years has risen from 52 percent to 65 percent. Meanwhile, the dropout rate fell from 29 percent for the 2003-04 freshman class to 25 percent for the 2008-09 freshmen.
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