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Council Set to Debate Revenue Options For Schools

We're up in City Council, where they're preparing to debate a series of revenue proposals to raise funds for the embattled Philadelphia School District.

So far there seems to be little consenus among members on what to do. Mayor Nutter has propsed a 10 percent property tax hike, a 2 cents/per ounce tax on soda and a hike on parking meter fees. Councilman Darrell Clarke has proposed a 3.5 percent property tax hike.

The district, which faces a $629 million funding gap for the fiscal year that starts July 1, has asked the city for $80 to $110 million to help prevent some planned cuts. But their effort stumbled last week when Superintendent Arlene Ackerman announced that she was shifting federal funds to save full-day kindergarten, the most prominent item on her list of cuts. The move reportedly frustrated the mayor, who had been lobbying for more funds in part to support kindergarten.

The measure with the most support currently seems to be the soda tax, although it's far from clear there are nine votes. Opponents of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages -- who helped defeat a similar proposal last year -- have alreaded flooded Council chambers.

"It's real simple. Loss of sales means loss of jobs," said Danny Grace, secretary-treasure of Teamsters Local 830, which represents workers who deliver soft drinks in the city.