THE PHILADELPHIA Parking Authority, overseer of nearly all things parking-, towing- and taxicab-related, has performed a great and noble deed:

It will give the city $27.2 million. From this, $2.2 million will go to the school district.

Isn't that wonderful? And, oh, the sacrifices PPA had to make! Cut out expensive consultants ($192,000). Slice key executives' pay by 6 percent ($141,500). Stop adding employees to an already fat staff ($1 million). Prevent mid-level managers from taking home PPA vehicles.

And to think, these kind acts occurred only after the agency got slapped around - by newspaper reports about PPA's largess and, by the feisty group Parents United for Public Education, which raised a ruckus because the PPA barely contributed to the school district budget. When the GOP took over the authority in 2001, it was agreed that schools would get $45 million. The schools have gotten just $4 million, and that was by mistake.

A state audit and a review of consultant contracts are still expected. Thorough and constant public scrutiny is needed to ensure that the authority works to benefits the taxpayers and the public schools, not just the PPA. *