PHILADELPHIA -

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said the city will borrow $50 million to ensure that schools can open on time next month.

Nutter's announcement on Thursday came a day before a fiscal deadline set by school officials.

The struggling district has laid off about 20 percent of its staff to close a $304 million deficit.

Superintendent William Hite said he needed $50 million by Friday to rehire enough employees to open schools safely on Sept. 9.

Hite thanked the mayor Thursday for pledging the money, saying it will restore critical positions and programs.

Several members of City Council later expressed opposition to the mayor's plan. They prefer to generate the needed funds through the sale of surplus school buildings.

Hite has not yet publicly responded to that proposal.