The school district's budget problems are far from over after the state Legislature restored a paltry $22 million from the nearly $300 million that Gov. Corbett slashed.
Although district and city officials hoped that City Council's vote to raise property taxes by nearly 4 percent might have led to more cash from the state, lawmakers last night approved a budget that leaves the district with at least a $35 million shortfall.
"We've got a $35 million hole, and we need to make some other changes to our financial plan in order to close that gap," Michael Masch, the district's chief financial officer, said yesterday.
City Council last week approved the 3.85 percent, one-year property-tax hike, and parking-meter rates were also increased, to send an extra $53 million to the district. Budget watchers hoped that would inspire the state to fulfill the district's request to restore $57 million to help offset the costs of the city's growing charter-school system.
"I'm disappointed but not surprised," said Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown.
"We were operating around the possibility of optimism. Sometimes it pans out; sometimes it does not."
"We're glad that they got some added money from the state," said city Finance Director Rob Dubow. "Obviously, we'd rather that they got the full $57 million, but they didn't, so now they have to figure out how to make their budget work."
Masch pointed out that lawmakers, while restoring $269 million of the $1.1 billion in statewide public-school funding cut by Corbett, ensured that Philadelphia was the only urban district that did not get special additional funding.
Masch noted that the district's hole could still go beyond the $35 million, considering the district still has not achieved $75 million in savings from its unions factored into the budget.