This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
With education a major issue in the Philadelphia mayor’s race, Democratic candidate Lynne Abraham has put forth her plan to fund the city’s public schools.
Abraham, like fellow candidate Jim Kenney, has committed to meeting the Philadelphia School District’s request for $103 million, and then some.
The former district attorney’s plan has two parts. For the 2014-15 school year, Abraham proposes raising the city’s use and occupancy tax by 12.5 percent to raise $17 million for schools. She also wants to sell off enough of the city’s uncollected tax liens to bring in an additional $88 million, for a total of $105 million.
This is not the first call for the city to collect on unpaid property taxes. Kenney’s education spending plan calls for selling a more modest number of commercial tax liens, for a total of about $40 million in the first year.
And on Friday, Mayor Nutter announced a bid for proposals to create an "online auction" for collecting some of the estimated $465 million in unpaid property taxes.
As part of its request, the School District is seeking a recurring source of funding.
"Once you agree, on the city’s part, to fund the schools, the funding has to be continuous and permanent," said Abraham.