Nutter Defends Plan To Borrow $50M To Open Philly Schools - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Nutter Defends Plan To Borrow $50M To Open Philly Schools

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Philadelphia schools are now expected to start on time next month after progress has finally been made in the ongoing budget battle in the district.

The district will get the $50 million it needs to open up on Sept. 9.

Mayor Michael Nutter and city council presented separate plans to get students in the classroom.

The mayor announced Thursday he'll borrow the money.

City Council President Darrell Clarke announced he's not on board with the plan.

"We do not support the $50 million borrowing. You can't have $200 million in real estate available … for sale, and you go out and borrow $50 million," Clarke said.

Safety is also a concern, with Parents United for Public Education saying: "The district should not open in September unless parents can see that our schools are safe and adequately staffed and funded."

The district is now expected to rehire about 1,000 staff members who were laid off earlier this summer.

But at Thursday night's School Reform Commission meeting, the board voted to hire not based on seniority – and teachers are angry.

"Destroying teacher seniority is removing the professional educators that have the most experience and have shown years and years of dedication to a school district that blames us for every possible problem," teacher Gail Kantor said at the meeting.

Superintendent William Hite says this plan will give the district flexibility to bring back who it wants based on where they are most needed.

"It wasn't about trying to wholesale change or attack some provision in the contract. It was really about how do we manage the fewer staff that we have," Hite said.

The superintendent also says the changes are only to get through the opening of school under the district's current financial situation.

This does not define any new practices.

So, a delayed opening of school has been avoided, but the controversy continues.

Nutter joined "Good Day Philadelphia" on Friday morning to discuss the issues.

During the interview he explained why he believes the borrowing plan – which he says is supported by Gov. Tom Corbett – makes more sense than council's push to rely on sales of district-owned real estate.

You can hear more of what the mayor had to say in the video clip above.

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