Struggling Philadelphia School District lays off 17 employees, eliminates 64 vacant positions

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PHILADELPHIA — The cash-strapped Philadelphia School District will lay off 17 central office employees as part of an elimination of 81 positions.

District spokesman Fernando Gallard says 64 of the 81 positions being eliminated are currently vacant. He says the cuts are estimated to save the district $5.4 million.

The district faces an $81 million deficit and has warned of massive layoffs unless state lawmakers approve a $2-per-pack cigarette tax.

Officials earlier this month announced plans to cut another $32 million in services to free up enough money to start classes on time Sept. 8 but said it would mean no school buses for many high school students, buildings cleaned less frequently and school police officer vacancies going unfilled. The governor earlier said the state would advance $265 million to the district.

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