This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Announcement on school opening
Superintendent Hite will be making a major announcement on the opening of schools on Sept. 9. His press conference is at 2 p.m. at District headquarters, 440 N. Broad St. Hite has previously expressed concern about his ability to open safe and functioning schools on time.
Clarke on school funding options
There has been no more news about the status of the $50 million hoped-for contribution from the city. In fact, Council President Darrell Clarke yesterday canceled a press briefing he had scheduled on "City Council’s efforts to arrive at a fair funding package for the School District of Philadelphia this fiscal year (and beyond)." He did speak with a phalanx of parents and public education advocates in a closed-door meeting yesterday but there were no specifics on progress at securing additional funding.
Shanee Garner of Public Citizens for Children and Youth attended the meeting and told the Notebook what she said PCCY hopes for from city.
The city didn’t create this problem, but the city needs to fix it. We got a raw deal from Harrisburg but we are hopeful that the city will come up with additional funding for schools. Nonetheless we are about a month away until the school year begins and we still do not have any additional funds lined up for our schools. The city has options to make this happen. In addition to the extension of the city sales tax, we also urge the city to use $25 million from this year’s fund balance as well as adopt Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez’s proposal of a one-time $50 million grant for the District. We also will push the state to pass enabling legislation for the cigarette tax in the fall. One important thing to note is that this problem is rooted in Pennsylvania’s lack of a state funding formula. The Ed Law Center found that PA is one of only three states without a reliable funding formula. We need our lawmakers in Harrisburg to get to work to pass a formula that will provide reliable dedicated funding to Pennsylvania schools so that our schools do not end up in crisis year after year.
The School District of Philadelphia faces an unprecedented situation – uncertainty over whether it will be in a position to open safe and functioning schools in September.
This feature, appearing each weekday, is an effort to highlight developments and motivate action as we get closer to the beginning of the school year. We encourage readers to send us information about both concerns and breakthroughs to firstname.lastname@example.org.