The Philadelphia Parking Authority has agreed to let the School District of Philadelphia keep $10.8 million that it had described as an overpayment.
In a statement on Monday, the PPA announced the reversal, saying they reached a “legal and responsible” resolution with the city of Philadelphia, made possible by some adjustments to pension and health care benefits for retired PPA employees. The agreement also provides an extra $859,000 to the city.
Each year, the PPA divides its on-street parking revenue between Philadelphia and its public school district. In 2020, the parking authority paid $14.4 million to the Philadelphia School District, of which $10.8 million was later determined by auditors to have been an "overpayment," according to the PPA.
The revenue-sharing is mandated by a 2004 state legislative agreement. Under the current deal, the city gets a capped amount of parking revenue, and the school district gets anything above that. Due to this formula, the PPA said Monday its given more than $53 million to the school district from 2015 to 2020, and nearly triple that to the city.
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The nearly $11 million overpayment sparked a months-long controversy. KYW Newsradio reports the debate contributed to the firing of the authority’s executive director Scott Petri in March.
It also launched an investigation into the PPA’s finances in February. City Councilmember Helen Gym, who's expressed her outrage on numerous occasions, said the parking authority would never get a dollar back from the students of Philadelphia.
On Monday, Gym responded to the news of the resolution saying the PPA “egregiously overstepped” and should not have final say over its own budget; she said the city should sign off on it.
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Council president Darrell Clarke said in a statement reading in part, “We commend the new leadership of the Parking Authority for reaching this joint agreement to leave the money with the School District where it belongs, and hope it signals a new era of accountability to Philadelphia residents and their schoolchildren.”