This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia School District may not be able to pay its employees or its bills after Jan. 29.
Superintendent William Hite sent a letter to employees Tuesday evening explaining that this would be the consequence of Pennsylvania’s ongoing state budget impasse.
The District – which relies on the state for about half its funding – has not received any money from Harrisburg for this school year.
To make up for that loss, the District has borrowed more than half a billion dollars to date — saddling its budget with $2.5 million in additional debt obligations.
District officials say there are additional costs as well — counting the toll that chronically under-resourced classrooms take on students, teachers, and public perception.
The Erie School District has threatened to close its doors because of the budget impasse. The Bethlehem School District, among others, has cut payments to charter schools. Several districts that haven’t yet needed to borrow have seen their rainy day reserves dwindle.
Almost six months beyond the June 30 budget deadline, Gov. Wolf and Republican leaders in the House and Senate have watched two framework agreements fall apart.