Thursday, August 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Council wants more detail on why schools need additional revenue

Councilman Jim Kenney today pushed the administration on why Council should support providing additional revenue to the embattled school district.

Council wants more detail on why schools need additional revenue

Councilman Jim Kenney today pushed the administration on why Council should support providing additional revenue to the embattled school district.

Mayor Nutter has proposed shifting to a property tax system that would use market value assessments, an effort known as the “Actual Value Initiative” (AVI). So far Nutter's budget plan has been greeted with caution in Council, because Nutter wants to bring in an extra $90 million in revenue for the school district in the coming fiscal year. Critics call the move a “back door tax hike,” while the administration says they are just capturing an increase in property values.

At a budget hearing this morning, Kenney questioned why the schools need the extra money, saying: “The $94 million in additional revenue that is projected as a result of AVI and the millage adjustment, can we justify it?”

Finance Director Rob Dubow responded: “I think we can. I think that the [School Reform Commission] and the district administration understand that they have to justify it and they will justify it.”

But it’s clear Kenney will need more convincing.

“This AVI issue is probably going to be the most difficult and angry issue that we’re facing maybe since I came in here in Council in '92, when the government was on its heels,” Kenney said. I can’t yet find a justification for explaining to people I represent citywide why the additional $94 million makes sense.”

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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