Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Corbett admin to release $45 million for Philly schools

Gov. Corbett today announced that he is releasing a one-time $45 million grant for the Philadelphia School District that was contingent on his administration certifying that reform efforts were underway at the district.

Corbett admin to release $45 million for Philly schools

(MANUEL BALCE CENETA / AP, File)
(MANUEL BALCE CENETA / AP, File)

Gov. Corbett today announced that he is releasing a one-time $45 million grant for the Philadelphia School District that was contingent on his administration certifying that reform efforts were underway at the district. 

The money, which became available when the federal government agreed to relieve the state for part of an unrelated debt, was earmarked for Philly schools as part of last summer's budget deal - but under one condition: The state secretary of education had to certify that the district was making operational and fiscal reforms. 

Over the summer, Philadelphia Democrats pressured Corbett, a Republican, to release the money immediately, arguing in part that the district had already made severe cuts. State Budget Secretary Charles Zogby responded with a statement saying the grant would not be released without a collective-bargaining agreement with significant concessions from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

There's still no agreement with the PFT, but the School Reform Commission and Superintendent William Hite have begun to unilaterally change some work rules.

Hite sent Corbett a letter yesterday, urging the release of the $45 million. He welcomed today's announcement as a rare moment of "good news" for the district.

The $45 million will allow the district to rehire about 400 employees this year. But it's a onetime grant, meaning that money will not be available next year.

Hite is still seeking more than $100 million from the PFT, and teachers have been working without a contract for a month.

About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
 Follow William on Twitter

David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
 Follow David on Twitter

PhillyClout Team
Also on Philly.com
letter icon Newsletter