Philadelphia School Budget
For some, it was déjà vu: the House passed a bill more than two months ago to authorize the cigarette tax for city schools, but then the bill got bogged down.
Laurie Friedman, who lives in West Philadlephia, had tears in her eyes as she read letters written by students begging state lawmakers to increase funding for the city’s schools.
Philadelphia public schools opened today amid huge budget deficits and reduced staffing
This is the third year that “People Helping People” has helped the staff of Dunbar Elementary get ready to open, and the volunteer force has grown to about 200 people.
The mayor says the interim cuts imposed now to allow schools to open on time will, in his view, affect learning.
The School District of Philadelphia will open as planned on September 8th, but with temporary “service reductions.”
One day after Governor Corbett was in town to announce an advance of funds for the troubled School District of Philadelphia, his Democratic opponent in the upcoming election, Tom Wolf, made a campaign stop in Northeast Philadelphia.
Schools superintendent William Hite, standing next to the governor for the announcement, stressed that this early disbursement does not resolve the $81-million funding gap the school district needs to close to avoid layoffs and other serious cuts.
They met for about two hours, but in the end there was no agreement to bring the House back into session to vote on the $2-per-pack cigarette tax to fund Philadelphia public schools.
Principals’ union president Rob McGrogan says his members have been working straight through the summer despite contract concessions last March that cut their pay from 12 months to ten months per year.
The point, organizers say, is that if dozens of people can take time from their lives to go to Harrisburg, lawmakers can come back into session and take action on the $2-a-pack cigarette tax.
Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery County) confirms that supporters of a $2-per-pack city cigarette tax to raise funds for Philadelphia schools are having trouble rounding up enough votes to pass it in the House.
The district is inviting principals and teachers to present their own instructional ideas to overhaul Philadelphia schools.
“The children of Philly deserve better,” said secretary of education Arne Duncan (center) at a Community College of Philadelphia roundtable on how young men of color can achieve.
In all, 342 layoff notices are going out. A school district spokeswoman says this is unrelated to the cigarette tax standoff in Harrisburg.