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SRC holds first hearing on budget

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Update: Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen says that without the additional $94 million from the city through a change in property assessments — the so-called Actual Value Initiative — some schools may not be able to open in September.

"Were we not get that money, it is not clear we could in fact open schools this fall," Knudsen told the School Reform Commission at the hearing. "We would have to make very deliberate choices."

AVI is being pushed by Mayor Nutter, but opposition has developed in Council and among some neighborhood groups. Some critics say least another year is needed to refine the program, which will result in tax increases for some property owners. The assessment system has not been updated in years, and the relationship between actual property values and taxes has grown wildly out of whack, resulting in the city losing revenue.

The District has been meeting with City Council members and communicating the potential effects on schools in their districts if AVI isn’t enacted. Even with that money, the District faces a $218 million shortfall in fiscal 2013.

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This evening, the public will get its first chance to weigh in on the District’s new budget forecast and plan to radically transform public education in the city. The School Reform Commission is conducting a hearing at 5:30 p.m. at District headquarters to hear public testimony.

A presentation on next year’s budget, which currently has a $218 million gap, is expected.

A draft agenda is available, and District officials say nine speakers are expected to testify.

Community hearings on the District’s budget and transformation plan will begin tomorrow evening at Kensington CAPA High School.

The meeting will be broadcast on cable TV station PSTV-52 and streamed online.

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