By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After a year of slashing activities, counselors and nurses, the School Reform Commission defied the city charter in May by refusing to approve a budget that would require even more spending cuts.
SRC chair Bill Green said, “Rather than adopting a ‘Doomsday II’ budget and giving anyone the impression that the cuts it contains are feasible or acceptable, we are not going to act on the budget tonight, consistent with Dr. Hite’s recommendation.”
City Council decided to give the district $120 million it was already expecting, from a sales tax extension.
The budget had a $93 million placeholder. The legislature went home for summer recess without approving a $2-a-pack cigarette tax that would partially fill that gap.
In August, Governor Corbett stepped in.
“I’m authorizing today $265 million in advance payments to the Philadelphia School District.”
But that was early money, not additional money. Superintendent William Hite said without a cigarette tax by August 15, he would have to lay off up to 1,000 workers. But on deadline day, Hite announced temporary cuts to open school in September with no layoffs.
“Opening on time with these further cuts was the least harmful decision for students and families.”
Jobs were spared when the House and Senate eventually approved the cigarette tax at the end of September.
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