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Pa. House acts on school funding

Photo: Emma Lee/NewsWorks, file

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

by Holly Otterbein for NewsWorks

The Pennsylvania House passed key pieces of Gov. Corbett’s Philadelphia schools funding package Monday night.

While many education advocates and Democratic state lawmakers said the deal was woefully inadequate, Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite and School Reform Commission Chairman Pedro Ramos issued a statement Monday supporting the plan’s passage.

The Republican-controlled House approved legislation that gives the School District a one-time infusion of $45 million — money that was previously owed to the federal government, but now apparently has been forgiven.

The House also signed off on letting Philadelphia extend a 1 percent sales tax that was scheduled to expire in 2014. State officials assume that the District will be able to borrow $50 million this school year against that planned funding boost. They said the tax could raise $120 million annually for the schools in future years.

The legislation approved by the House was inserted into a group of overall revenue bills that were amended, so they now head to the Senate again for approval. The GOP-led Senate has already approved the Philadelphia funding proposal, though, so that part of the legislation appears to be a done deal.

Corbett signed a budget late Sunday night that also provides an additional $2 million in basic education funding for Philadelphia’s schools, on top of the extra $14 million in his February spending plan. His package counts on the city raising $30 million for schools by improving local tax collections.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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