Cops alone will not solve Philadelphia's violence problem, mayoral candidate Dwight Evans said yesterday.
According to state Rep. Evans, who has made safety the central issue of his campaign, the city also needs more early-education programs, smaller class sizes, and laptop computers in every classroom.
"Education is the key to reducing violence in this city," said a newly mustache-free Evans as he unveiled an ambitious education plan outside Constitution High School on 7th Street near Market.
Evans didn't put a price tag on his proposal, entitled "A Smarter Philadelphia School By School."
The district is already under financial pressure and recently made cuts to close a $73 million budget deficit.
Evans did cite several funding sources for his plan, including designating a bigger cut of property-tax revenues to schools and using a private foundation that raises money for the school district.
Evans also promised to:
* secure funding for greater capital improvements to schools;
* reduce class sizes to an average of 22 kids;
* increase the number of health clinics at or near schools;
* expand anti-dropout and anti-delinquency programs.
A key source of funding, Evans said, would be property-tax revenue.
Councilman Wilson Goode Jr. recently introduced a bill to shift an estimated $100 million in property-tax revenue from city coffers to the School Reform Commission in the next five years.
Evans said he supports the bill, which would give the schools 60 percent of property-tax revenue - up from 58 percent.
Rob Dubow, executive director of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, a budget-oversight body, said his one concern with this proposal is that it would drain money from the city's operating budget.
"From a city-budget perspective, my question would be: How do you compensate for the money that's going over to the school district?" he said.
Evans said that he didn't anticipate a shortfall in other areas because property taxes in the city have grown.
"The real-estate market has been really hot," he said.
Evans also said he would increase fundraising for the Children's First Fund, a foundation that raises private money for the schools.
New York has raised millions through a similar foundation.
Evans said he would sell some city-owned parking lots and garages and would use money from soon-to-expire tax abatements for education.