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Corbett: Dedicated To Finding Long-Term Solution For Philadelphia School District

FILE PHOTO: Tom Corbett takes the oath of office as Pennsylvania’s 46th governor.

FILE PHOTO: Tom Corbett takes the oath of office as Pennsylvania’s 46th governor.

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett released a statement on the Philadelphia School District Wednesday afternoon that said he is dedicated to finding a solution that is fiscally responsible and student-focused.

Last week, hundreds of teachers and students rallied at the governor’s office in Philadelphia in hopes that he would take notice and offer help with the budget crisis.

Wednesday, Corbett released a statement that read:

“As governor, I am committed to finding a long-term solution for the Philadelphia School District that is focused on students and is fiscally responsible for taxpayers.

“Over the past several weeks, many viable ideas and solutions have been suggested to help close the $304 million dollar budget shortfall for the district.

“These solutions include a combination of student-centered contributions from the state, the city, the school district and the union- with an expectation that we will not be back at the drawing board again next year with another fiscal crisis.

“Among the proposed solutions, Philadelphia School Superintendent William Hite is asking employees for wage and benefit changes, including sharing a portion of their healthcare premiums and for the ability to staff schools around the needs of students. Such changes will help stem the financial drain on the school district’s budget so that resources may be redirected back into the classroom for high-quality teaching and improved learning.

“Other potential solutions include, but are not limited to, enabling the city to improve its tax collection system to gather millions of dollars in owed taxes and redirecting 1 percent of the existing city sales tax toward the school district.

“I will continue to work with the General Assembly, Mayor Nutter, leaders of city council and the school district to agree upon a joint path for the future for the students and their families of the Philadelphia School District.

“Our focus must remain on academic and operational excellence for the students of Philadelphia. With the Philadelphia School District receiving nearly one-half of its revenue from the state, the citizens of Pennsylvania should expect nothing less.”

The Philadelphia School District has been seeking $120-million from the state (see related story).