By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One week before Mayor Nutter delivers his new budget, a city councilmember wants to shift a higher percentage of property taxes to the school district to help with the district’s seemingly neverending red ink.
Property taxes in Philadelphia are currently split with 55 percent going to the schools and 45 percent to the city’s own budget.
Now, Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez proposes upping the district’s share to 60 percent, which she says would shift about $53 million per year from the city to the schools without raising taxes.
“(Schools superintendent) Dr. Hite has a bold plan,” Sanchez said today. “He’s made clear what his ‘ask’ is. And Council has to review it and provide some support so that we can get our district out of chaos and into a predictable stream of money.”
Quinones Sanchez wants this idea to be part of the debate as Council reviews Nutter’s new budget.
“So as soon as the mayor does his budget presentation and we look at projections and where we are, we can make a final decision,” she tells KYW Newsradio. “But it should be part of the conversation.”
Quinones Sanchez believes the shift would not prompt cuts to city services, because net property tax revenues are likely to grow under the new assessment system.
“We all know with AVI (Actual Value Initiative) there will be adjustments with property values. We want to make sure that we capture that growth and we invest it in education,” she said.
School districts officials are to unveil their preliminary budget at the end of March. Last year the district CFO predicted the deficit could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.