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Future of school district could rest on state and city funding

With the fate of the last two schools on the closings list sealed, the focus has shifted to the school's budget.

Philadelphia School District Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. is calling for "shared sacrifice" in the face of a $304 million budget shortfall. (file photo) Philadelphia School District Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. is calling for "shared sacrifice" in the face of a $304 million budget shortfall. (file photo)

Beeber Middle School will survive.

M.H. Stanton won't be so lucky.

With the fate of the last two schools on the closings list sealed, the focus has shifted to the school's budget, which already has a $300 million deficit and holes to fill.

The school district unveiled its $2.7 billion budget for the 2013-14 school last week. Citing unimaginable cuts as a possible result, the district is begging for $60 million from the city and $120 million from the state in additional funding.

“We are facing an unprecedented financial crisis,” said Superintendent William Hite.

Twenty-four schools will close, and many more cuts could come if funding is not granted. This would include heavy layoffs, which could reach as high as 3,000.

Other changes could include cuts to counseling services, sports, extracurricular activities and summer school, among others.

The district is also after about $133 million in Union compromises as it negotiates with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and its some 15,000 members.

"The District is at the breaking point," Hite said.

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