Transcripts of full meetings of the council.

We must stand together and urge the Commonwealth to step up, create a new funding formula and support Philadelphia students and children all across this state.

Last month I asked members of

the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of

Commerce to partner with all of us in the

fight for the future of our city, the

fight for education funding. It is my

sincere hope that Philadelphians will

actively join in this fight for fair and

full education funding as well.

I want to recognize and thank Dr. William Hite and his team at the School District. He is in fact doing an incredible job under tremendously difficult circumstances and has my complete support, including his efforts to gain sensible work rule changes that support positive outcomes for our kids in new teacher and principal contracts.

I know Dr. Hite, the School Reform Commission, and every Councilmember shares my belief that our children should be our first priority. Investing in their education is our investment in Philadelphia's future.

Earlier I talked about fiscal

responsibility and strategic investments.

Our proposed FY15 budget continues to

allocate funding for the support of our

citizens and the improvement of our

communities and neighborhoods. Let me

take a few moments to highlight some of

the new FY15 investments from the

operating and capital budgets.

Today, I'm pleased to announce that we will invest an additional $2.3 million in FY15 to bring all neighborhood branch libraries up to six-days-a-week service. We have not had this level of service in our branch libraries since the recession in 2008. We will be back to six full days of service very soon.

This Council was right on this issue back in 2009, and I've been determined to correct my mistake ever since. And I apologize to the children and library users of this city for the impact of my decision back at that time. This new investment will total more than $11 million over the Five Year Plan to

benefit our children, our parents,

jobseekers, senior citizens, and many

other library users.

Additionally, we will spend

$200,000 to build the collections at our

neighborhood branches to ensure that our

neighborhood libraries have the resources

that Philadelphians need and want. The collections at our neighborhood library branches support literacy initiatives, educational plans for students of all ages, and the lifelong love of learning for every Philadelphian.

And so I'd also like to challenge the Library Foundation, the Friends groups, the non-profit sector, and our private donor community to match the City's proposed $200,000 for collections at our neighborhood branches.

Our educational interests don't end when a student graduates from high school. To ensure that the Community College of Philadelphia, the City college of Philadelphia, is a viable and

attractive post-secondary learning option

for every Philadelphian, we will spend an

additional $500,000 in FY15 to help

offset rising tuition costs.

And because learning outside

the classroom is also important to the

development of our young people, we will

invest an additional $500,000 in the Department of Parks and Recreation to provide more programming options and expand recreation center hours across the City in Fiscal '15.

I'm proud to announce that in order to counteract federal sequestration cuts that would hurt vulnerable Philadelphians, we will continue to invest an additional $1 million in the Office of Supportive Housing to help our homeless citizens.

We will spend $5 million in FY15 on neighborhood commercial corridors to make improvements to curbs and sidewalks, landscaping, lighting, and parking to complement public and private


And we will provide $16 million

to the Streets Department to pave roads

across the City. I'd like to take a

moment to acknowledge the exceptional

efforts of our many snow-fighting City

employees, starting with Streets

Commissioner Dave Perri and all those who are out fighting these incredible storms during the course of this winter for months, battling bitterly cold temperatures and intense snowfalls during the third worst winter in the recorded history of the City of Philadelphia, including one storm just earlier this week. Let's recognize all of these great public servants.

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