Teacher Layoffs Expected in Philly School District If Cigarette Tax Fails

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Philadelphia School District teachers will know by August 15th if they will be laid off due to a budget gap. It's all dependent on if Pennsylvania lawmakers pass a cigarette tax. (Published Thursday, Jul 10, 2014)

    Teachers in the School District of Philadelphia could be laid off next month if state lawmakers don't pass a much sought after cigarette tax.

    The district has been counting on $45 million in revenue from the $2 a pack tax to help close a $93 million budget deficit.

    Superintendent Dr. William Hite says he'll be forced to hand out pink slips by August 15 if the tax doesn't become law by then and the monies guaranteed.

    "It's frustrating because we're getting closer to school opening and the closer we get to school opening, the more uncertain this becomes," he told NBC10.com.

    The tax, which would only be levied within city limits, needs approval from the state legislature. Versions of the bill have been approved independently by the state House and Senate, but the proposed law has been hung up amid other budget negotiations.

    The tax was expected to be passed by the state Senate on Tuesday, but was amended and forced back to the state House of Representatives. Their next session is scheduled for August 4.

    Gov. Tom Corbett has said he would sign the cigarette tax increase for Philadelphia.

    Philadelphia's 202 schools are scheduled to open Sept. 8. As Pennsylvania's largest school district, it serves nearly 200,000 traditional and charter school students.

    Hite and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter have said they will not open school for the year if they money doesn't come through.

    The cigarette tax is expected to provide $83 million in new revenue to the district after a full year of being law. The district still needs