This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania’s budget gridlock is over, but school districts are focusing on another piece of unwelcome news: After years of delayed reimbursements for state-approved construction and building maintenance, they’ll go without any state funding for such projects.
About $306 million in construction reimbursements was nixed when Gov. Wolf vetoed a budget-related piece of legislation known as the fiscal code last week.
Schools desperate for their state aid were the single largest source of pressure on lawmakers and Wolf to end the nearly nine-month budget impasse. Will the holdup of state money for construction costs prompt a similar outcry?
Time will tell.
"I don’t think it’s as serious," said Jim Buckheit, director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators. "Districts almost have now an expectation that whatever the state owes them for school construction reimbursements will be delayed. So this isn’t anything unusual. What is unusual this year is that districts aren’t getting any money because of the lack of an appropriation."