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Cash-strapped Philadelphia schools will open on time

The Philadelphia school superintendent said he hopes the state legislature will pass a city cigarette tax hike, allowing cuts he has ordered to be temporary.
By Frances Burns   |   Aug. 15, 2014 at 4:23 PM   |   Comments

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PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- The cash-strapped Philadelphia schools will start the school year on schedule but may be a bit dirtier because of budget cuts, the superintendent said Friday.

William Hite said there will be a number of cuts to fill an $81 million hole in the School District of Philadelphia budget. They include leaving vacant school police officer positions open and stretching out the cleaning schedule for schools.

Transportation will also be eliminated for about 7,500 students who attend schools within two miles of their homes. Students at charter and private schools will be affected by this.

The new school year is set to begin Sept. 8.

"To delay school opening during which time we would be required to continue paying employees, make our charter school payments and meet our other contractual obligations all while students are not being educated punishes students for the failure of adults," Hite said.

Hite said he hoped the state legislature will approve a $2-a-pack cigarette tax in Philadelphia to provide additional funding for schools. That would allow the district to bring services back to their previous level, but lawmakers did not act on the plan before breaking for the summer.

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