Saturday, August 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Ackerman Requests $75 to $110 million from City

Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman just made her formal funding request of City Council and Mayor Nutter -- $75 million to $110 million.

Ackerman Requests $75 to $110 million from City

Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman just made her formal funding request of City Council and Mayor Nutter -- $75 million to $110 million.

Ackerman said those funds would restore full-day kindergarten, transportation services and lower class sizes. The school district -- which faces a $629 million funding shortfall in the coming fiscal year -- will be forced to make major cuts without additional funds.

It's not yet clear how the city would provide those funds. One option would be to raise property taxes to increase revenue. Another would be to shift more of the current property tax revenue to the schools, which would open up a hole in the city's general fund. But no definite funding options have been discussed at today's hearing.

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell said that she wasn't sure what Council will do. She noted that in a private meeting with Council leaders and Ackerman, Mayor Nutter said he supported the district's request, but he didn't say how he'd like to provide the revenue.

Asked if she would support a tax increase to provide the funds, Blackwell said she couldn't say.

"At this point with numbers moving all around, I don' think everyone is prpared to make that kind of decision," she said.

The city is currently projected to provide $776 million in tax funding, as well as a $39 million grant to the district for the financial year starting July 1 – about 30 percent of the district’s $2.8 billion budget. Next year’s budget is far less than the $3.2 billion budget for the current year, which means major cuts to programs and staffing are planned.

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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