Phila. School District to approve budget today

The Philadelphia School District will adopt its 2008-09 budget later today, but questions remain as to how the public schools will close a $38.9 million deficit.

The preliminary budget, released by the district in March, was a $2.3 billion spending plan that includes several question marks.

It built no money in for raises next year for the district's five unions. All five unions are in negotiations now, with contracts that expire in August.

And it also banks on $80 million in new education aid from the state. Gov. Rendell's budget calls for that sum, but it still needs to be green-lighted by the state legislature.

Officials have said they hope to balance the budget, but no cut list has been released yet.

The budget mandates some art and music instruction for every school and smaller class sizes in the district's lowest-performing schools.

It represents a 5 percent, or $109 million, jump in spending.

The School Reform Commission is scheduled to convene at 1 p.m. at district headquarters, 440 N. Broad St., for budget discussion and vote.


Contact staff writer Kristen Graham at 215-854-5146 or kgraham@phillynews.com.