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.