A 'self-inflicted wound'

City Council President Darrell Clarke first used the adage two weeks ago to describe the School District of Philadelphia’s money troubles. He reinforced his position with strong words sent in an e-mail today from spokeswoman Jane Roh:

“For the fourth consecutive year, City Council has voted to increase funding for the School District of Philadelphia. But instead of talking about how best to utilize revenues to improve education outcomes, the district is dealing with a current-year budget deficit of its own making.”

Clarke said that this week, Council will authorize borrowing to fill the district’s “self-made” gap. Last week, a Council committee approved $27 million in short-term loans for the district to pay its bills before June 30 – when the fiscal year’s clock runs out. Clarke has accused the district of "foot dragging" when it comes to selling off its vacant, surplus real estate. 

“Considering City Council is the only funding authority that has consistently increased revenues for the state-controlled School District of Philadelphia over the last four years, this disrespect towards city taxpayers is disturbing and unfair,” Clarke wrote.

“Instead of improving core city functions like public safety, we are looking for more ways to squeeze money from our residents to send to a school district that feels it is not accountable to us.”