Philadelphia School Budget
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.
“While there has been a lot of backslapping and clapping and ‘We finally got it done,’ we have not gotten it done,” warns state senator Anthony Williams (at left in photo).
An amendment attached to the Pa. House bill would give groups who want to open charter schools in Philadelphia the right to appeal to a state board if they get turned down by the School Reform Commission.
The Philadelphia School District is keeping its pink slips in its pocket for now, until the revenue picture from Harrisburg becomes more clear.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is renewing his appeal for compromise on the issues of Philadelphia school funding and public employee pension reform.
Hillary Linardopoulos, of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, said the ballot question would be an important — albeit symbolic — statement.
The bill’s sponsor, Councilman Jim Kenney, estimates that the new marijuana policy could save the police department and the courts $4 million a year.