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Philadelphia students protest budget cuts at City Hall

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Farah Abney, a kindergarten student at Powel Elementary, holds up her sign during the City Hall protest. It says, "We need safety and books." ​(Photo: Dale Mezzacappa) Parents and students from Powel, Henry, Penn Alexander and Masterman schools came to City Hall on Wednesday morning to protest proposed District budget cuts, converging in a staircase up to the second floor.

Mayor Nutter walked through the chanting crowd right after he had announced with Superintendent William Hite that he was proposing a package to raise $95 million in new revenue for the District, which is $35 million more than the School Reform Commission had requested.

The money would come from a new $2 city tax on a pack of cigarettes and a hike in the liquor-by-the-drink tax. For both measures, the District needs enabling legislation from Harrisburg that has been introduced and that Nutter and state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams said has support. Nutter also announced that the city expects to step up property tax collections to raise $28 million in additional funds next year for the District, which faces a $304 million budget gap.