A BILL THAT would pave the way for the city to borrow $30 million to support the debt-laden school district passed out of City Council's Finance Committee yesterday with flying colors.
Supported by most members of Council, the measure would authorize the city to enter into an agreement with the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development to meet a portion of the district's operating needs for Fiscal Year 2014-15.
It is expected to clear its first legislative hurdle at tomorrow's regular Council meeting and be approved with final passage by next month.
Local lawmakers are waiting on the governor to sign a bill that would allow Philadelphia to implement a $2-per-pack cigarette tax. That measure passed the state Senate yesterday and Gov. Corbett said he would sign it "as soon as it reaches my desk."
Proceeds from that tax would go directly to the school district. But the $30 million loan would allow the district to pay its bills now.
"This additional $30 million has already been built into our current year's budget and is essential to prevent a further deterioration of services to our under-resourced," said Matthew Stanski, the district's chief financial officer.
The loan will be repaid from proceeds from the sales tax, meaning it will have no impact on the city budget.
"It's still not enough. We need dedicated funding for the school district. That is the goal," said Councilwoman Marian Tasco, chair of the Finance Committee.
"But in the meantime, we certainly have to do what we can on the local level that doesn't hurt our taxpayers."