City Council's annual public grilling of the Philadelphia School District budget - expected to be extra-heated because of a looming deficit - has been postponed for more than three weeks at Mayor Street's request, drawing criticism from some Council members and education advocates.

The hearings, originally scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, will be consolidated on one day, May 23, starting at 10 a.m. Street asked for the delay yesterday in a letter to Council President Anna C. Verna.

"As you know, the administration has been working closely with Gov. Rendell's office to determine more accurately the district's financial needs," Street wrote. "I expect this process to be completed in the next 30 days."

The School Reform Commission plans to adopt the budget May 29, just six days after the rescheduled hearings. - Inquirer staff