Because of expected deep cuts in state funding, the Philadelphia School District plans to cut 30 percent from its central staff, officials said Wednesday.

Officials said at least 240 will lose their jobs. The office employs approximately 1,000 of whom 200 are funded by outside grants and 800 by operating costs.

The central office budget of $92 million represents about four percent of the district's $3.2 billion budget

The district had previously announced it would have a budget shortfall of $400 to $500 million for the 2011-12 school year.

But after Gov. Corbett's Tuesday announcement that he wants to cut more than $1 billion in funding to public schools statewide, the Philadelphia school system's gap ballooned to more than $600 million, a knowledgeable source said.

The district is facing at least a $40 million shortfall in the current $3.2 billion budget

For next year, The district will lose an accountability block grant of $55 million that has been used to fund full-day kindergarten. It will also lose an additional $55 million to help cover summer school costs and provide after-school tutoring for students who are struggling.

Corbett also wants to stop reimbursing districts for a portion of their charter-school costs.

In Philadelphia, 74 charter schools enroll more than 43,000 students.

The State Legislature would have to approve Corbett's budget for the cuts to occur.

In a statement, district spokeswoman Jamilah Fraser said that the cuts "will in fact disrupt the district's ability to serve Philadelphia's 200,000 public school students and sustain the momentum of the past eight consecutive years of rising test scores and charter school expansion."

The district also announced that the nine members of School Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman's executive staff today decided to double the number of their furlough days from eight to 16 as a result of Corbett's budget proposal.

The district said the furloughs will save $600,000.

Ackerman previously had announced she intended to take 20 days furlough to help provide district savings.

District officials had earlier also said that the district's financial woes could also mean increased class size, a reduction in common planning time for teachers, no new money for new textbooks, cuts to athletics, art and music, less money for student transportation, and teacher layoffs.

Teacher layoffs aren't certain though, and would depend on the number of teachers who retire.

The district will hold two sessions so the public can comment on the planned cuts: March 17, 6-8 p.m. Benjamin Franklin High School, 550 North Broad St. 2101 South Broad St.; March 19, 10 a.m. to noon at South Philadelphia High School on South Broad St.

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