To find enough money to help the School District of Philadelphia, the city would have to cancel a police academy class, lay off probation officers, and not pay for snow- removal or literacy programs.
Those are just some of the drastic measures the city would have to take to find the $75 million to $110 million Mayor Nutter pledged this week for the cash-strapped schools, according to a letter from Clay Armbrister, his chief of staff.
Armbrister's letter, sent to City Council on Thursday, was an attempt to douse the idea of finding money within the city's budget. Some have suggested giving the schools more money by increasing their share of the property-tax pie. That would occur by shifting the millage rate, which determines how property-tax revenues are divided between the city and the schools.
Several Council members have expressed support for a millage shift, which could provide millions for the schools without affecting taxpayers.
But such a move would take money from the city and "open a painfully large gap in the city's budget," Armbrister wrote.
"The administration believes that a millage shift is not a wise course for the city to pursue," he said.
While Armbrister did not suggest how the city otherwise would raise the money, the administration is trying to move the debate toward some kind of new revenue - a tax increase.
Many Council members, including most of those in leadership, have stated a public opposition to raising taxes.
"I don't understand what the administration position is," Councilman Bill Green said. "They've said what not to do, not what to do."
Nutter pledged to raise money to prevent the school district from making cuts that would devastate full-day kindergarten, transportation services, class size, and alternative schools.
The school district, which gets about 30 percent of its $2.8 billion budget from the city, faces a $629 million deficit for the next fiscal year.
The district also is counting on the state to restore some funding, as well as concessions from the teachers union.
The mayor could have several allies on Council - members Curtis Jones Jr. and Blondell Reynolds-Brown both spoke during Thursday's Council meeting about the need to help the schools. Reynolds-Brown even used a catchphrase about elected officials being judged "by what we do" that the mayor also employed Thursday.
"At the end of the day . . . we need to be prepared in this body to do the heavy lifting. We will not sit by and let students be the unintended victims," Jones said in his speech. "This should never be the body that eliminated kindergarten."
Jones and Reynolds-Brown are proteges of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, who appears to have formed an alliance with Nutter. On election night, Nutter called Fattah the country's best congressman.
That was also the night Nutter promised to make Philadelphia an "education city."
Also on Thursday, Council Majority Whip Darrell L. Clarke introduced a resolution seeking to request that the city's Law Department sue the state to provide adequate school funding.
If the Law Department declines to file suit, the resolution would authorize Council to hire an outside lawyer to do so.
Clarke noted that Philadelphia and other poor school districts had suffered a disproportionate amount of the state's education cuts.
"We're simply asking for parity," he said. "We don't think it's fair that now we have to go to our citizens and ask for $100 million increases in taxes to take responsibility that ultimately lies with the state."
Nutter said that suing the state is not the solution.