By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia school officials say a modest surplus from last year is providing some breathing room as the state budget stalemate drags on.
The cash-strapped Philadelphia school district ended last fiscal year with a surplus. $88 million. How? The district got more revenue than it expected from local sources including the first full year of the $2-a-pack cigarette tax. That cash, plus a big borrow at the start of the school year, is helping the district to operate for now, in the absence of a state budget. Superintendent William Hite doesn’t know how long the district can go without more state money, but he says a shutdown isn’t practical.
“It doesn’t matter if you shut down. You still have to meet payroll. You still have to pay vendors. You still have to make charter payments. And so all of those things still occur,” said Hite.
Hite hasn’t said what will happen without the other half-year of state funding.