By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Discretion, they say, is the better part of valor, and that even holds true in City Council where one lawmaker this past week reluctantly tabled a measure that her colleagues feared would upset Harrisburg.
City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell wants the city to regain control of the school district, and on Thursday she was prepared to call a final vote on a bill that would put that question in a non-binding referendum to city voters in November.
But other council members feared that the demand for local control would only upset state lawmakers who still must approve a much-needed city cigarette tax to fund the schools.
So Blackwell agreed to hold the measure:
“We didn’t want to send mixed messages that we’re trying to fight anyone when it deals with the funding level of schools in our city. And this is why we decided — after many calls and requests in the last few days — that we needed to hold (the bill).”
The school district still faces an $81-million deficit, and officials are counting on revenues from a $2-a-pack tax on cigarettes to fill about half that.
City Council’s Finance committee later this month is expected to consider a separate bill that would have the city borrow up to $30-million to help further close the gap.
Even if Blackwell’s referendum had gone to voters, it would not have had the force of law; only the state can determine who controls the school board.
[display-posts category=”news” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”5“]