This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
by Holly Otterbein for NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner
Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission will vote Thursday on whether to adopt a budget that would deprive the District of librarians, sports, music and assistant principals.
One day before the vote, charity giants Carole Haas Gravagno and H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest decided to throw their weight behind the city’s struggling schools.
Haas Gravagno, chairwoman of the Stoneleigh Foundation, urged city and state leaders to figure out a way to avoid the cuts. She said they would hurt children, taxpayers, businesses and the suburbs alike.
"We’re more interested in building juvenile justice centers or prisons. That’s where [children will] go if we aren’t taking care of them," she said. "This will spill over into all the counties if we don’t do something."
Lenfest, another noted philanthropist, said in a statement that "gutting the schools" would hurt Philadelphia’s economy.
The School District has been pleading for more money from the city and state, as well as labor givebacks, in order to stave off budget cuts. It is facing a $304 million budget deficit next year.