This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
State lawmakers are scrapping plans to approve a cigarette tax for Philadelphia city schools this summer and, in the meantime, they’re asking the governor to send the School District a cash advance.
The state House and Senate can’t agree on a bill that includes authorization for Philadelphia to pass a $2-a-pack tax on cigarettes to help fund its school system.
A planned vote next week in the House was canceled, leaving the District without the injection of funds it was seeking.
Mayor Nutter and District Superintendent William Hite say that without additional funding in mid-August, the school year will begin late, class sizes will increase, and about 1,300 school employees will be laid off.
But Erik Arneson, spokesman for Republican Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, said Philadelphia schools can still open on time if Gov. Corbett’s administration advances the needed money.
The move is not without precedent.