After two years of raising property taxes to help the struggling School District of Philadelphia, Mayor Nutter this year promised no hike in real estate taxes and did not include new money for the schools in his budget – despite the district’s continued money woes.
So, when the district last week said it would seek $60 million from the city, that caught some Council members off-guard. Several asked top Nutter staffers during a budget hearing today how the two budgets could have been so out-of-sync, especially given that the city and the schools are supposed to be cooperating at the highest levels.
“So we don’t really have any skin in this game?” asked Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. “We don’t have any control at all?”
Nutter’s chief education officer, Lori Shorr, said she learned that the district would ask for the additional $60 million the day before the request was made – but she had no problem with the way the school district handled the matter.
“They knew we have been and will continue to be supportive of finding more money for the school district,” she said.
Goode later asked Shorr if she would have liked to have known the number sooner.
“I think we knew what we needed to know,” she said.
Later, Councilman David Oh questioned Nutter’s chief-of-staff, Everett Gillison, on where the administration proposed finding the money, given the budget the mayor has proposed.
“I think we are going to have to sit down and really figure that out,” Gillison said. “We will come up with a way forward.”
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