School Reform Commission Passes Funding Resolution

The Philadelphia School Reform Commission passed a resolution Thursday that will allow the district to use money from a cigarette tax hike and liquor by the drink tax if the state approves the plan.

The state-run commission has asked the city for $60 million, the state for $120 million and unions for about $130 million in concessions.

The Philadelphia School District announced last month that approximately 3,800 employees were being laid off due to a $304 million budget deficit. The cuts also include eliminating art, music and athletic programs. The additional funds would allow some programs and jobs to be restored.

City Council unanimously (16-0) approved the new $2-per-pack cigarette tax hike on June 13. If the new tax is approved by lawmakers in Harrisburg, the average cost for a pack of cigarettes would increase from $5.85 to $7.85. The new tax would generate an additional $45 million for the district.

Layoffs are still in place at this time. Some staff will be paid through the summer depending on their contract.

Another meeting will be held this Sunday at 5 p.m. at the School District of Philadelphia headquarters located at 440 North Broad Street, Suite 102.

Lawmakers in Harrisburg have until midnight Sunday to make a decision.

Philadelphia, one of the nation's largest districts, serves about 204,000 traditional and charter school students.


Copyright AP - Associated Press
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