Philadelphia School Budget
But the lawmakers voiced frustration at how the school district conducts its business.
City Council president Darrell Clarke says the school district’s immediate need for $35 million by month’s end is a “self-inflicted wound” because the district, in his view, dragged its feet on selling old, shuttered buildings.
Even so, the proposed legislation does not fully meet the district’s needs for the coming year.
At a Council hearing this morning, school district COO Fran Burns said seven of the 27 buildings have buyers, and the rest are not likely to bring in as much as had been hoped.
Students at West Philadelphia High erupted in cheers as Heidi Hamels announced the $8,700 grant to their school, one of six new Hamels Foundation gifts — totaling $51,000 — to area schools.
City Council president Darrell Clarke has decided to play it safe, adding a fallback provision to his plan to send sales tax proceeds to the cash-starved school district.
Mayor Nutter says he’s concerned that the proposed graduated split in sales tax proceeds would need approval from the state General Assembly.
The Philadelphia school funding crisis was coming to a head in City Council as the Council president introduced a bailout plan that neither the mayor, state lawmakers, nor school advocates are likely to embrace.
City councilman Wilson Goode Jr. is accusing the Nutter administration of ignoring the needs of the school district by opposing his plan to scale back the city’s ten-year property tax abatement.
Teachers’ union president Jerry Jordan called on City Council to allocate all $120 million from a city sales tax extension to schools.
The district is already counting on City Council to provide $120 million more for next year by extending the one-percent city sales tax hike. But that’s far from a done deal. And it says it wants $96 million beyond that.
His visit to George Washington High School, on Bustleton Avenue in the Northeast, was the first of four around the district.
Philadelphia schools superintendent William Hite (at right in photo) says he wants to keep the conversation on revenue — where the needed funds will come from — and not on the cuts that would ensue if it doesn’t arrive.
The two dozen attorneys are urging councilmembers to extend the city sales tax hike to provide $120 million for the cash-starved Philadelphia School District.
“Schools are not okay the way they are,” says Cindy Farlino, principal of the Meredith School, in Queen Village. “They opened, and our kids came, but they are not okay.”