PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Kenney today proposed a roughly $980 million funding package to stabilize the School District of Philadelphia’s finances over the next five years and to invest in quality programs to ensure the best outcomes for Philadelphia families. This investment will ensure that Philadelphia’s students have the resources to thrive, particularly as the City moves toward regaining local control of the School District. Specifically, this funding package includes:
- Increasing the City’s annual contribution to the District by $100 million over five years.
- Reducing the amount of planned wage tax reductions and using the savings from the change to increase the District’s contribution by almost $340 million over five years.
- Increasing the Real Estate Transfer Tax to generate an additional $66 million
- Increasing the Property Tax rate by 6% to generate an additional $475 million
Dr. William Hite, School District of Philadelphia: “Mayor Kenney’s plan represents a big step forward in maintaining the stability we have fought so hard to obtain. Without the Mayor’s bold leadership we would be forced to talk about cuts in our schools. Now we can look to build on our recent improvements and expand and sustain the investments we know are working to advance student progress in Philadelphia’s schools.”
Steven Scott Bradley, Chairman, African American Chamber of Commerce, PA, NJ & DE: “Mayor Kenney’s proposed funding for the School District shows his commitment and willingness to be accountable to our students, families and residents today, and throughout the future. The time is now and the urgency is great, as the stability and quality of our educational system shapes the future of our city.”
Brigitte Daniel, EVP of Wilco Electronics Systems, Inc.: “As a business leader and a new parent who lives in the city, it is imperative that our public schools are capable of addressing the new technology skills required for our kids to learn and grow in safe and empowering environments. If we don’t invest in our school system now, the skills of our future workforce will be in jeopardy and we’ll weaken the ability to attract and retain businesses. We’ll also continue losing working families to better resourced schools outside of the city — a decision that I myself do not want to face.”
Marc Stier, Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center: “Mayor Kenney’s proposed budget confirms his commitment to the children of Philadelphia and to the economic future of our city by dramatically increasing the city’s support of our public schools. And it does so in a fiscally responsible way.”
Jerry Jordan, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers: “The Mayor is deeply committed to ensuring schoolchildren and educators won’t have to endure the program cuts, layoffs and school closings that marked the SRC era. Philadelphia’s school children need librarians, smaller class sizes, arts education, and facilities that are healthy and safe. We look forward to working with the Mayor and members of City Council towards a budget that moves us towards true investment into a holistic vision of public education in our city.”
Robin Cooper, Commonwealth Association of School Administrators: “We applaud Mayor Kenney’s commitment to ensuring that Philadelphia schools have the funding they need so that principals can maintain an academic focus necessary for student success. This is exactly the type of leadership that we need in this moment, as our schools celebrate recent successes and look to accelerate that progress. The District’s strategic investments in schools are working. We can see it at the school and classroom level. With the Mayor promising to maintain those investments, I am very optimistic about the future of our schools and our city.”
Susan Spicka, Education Voters of PA: “Education Voters of PA supports Mayor Kenney’s budget proposal. When we look at school funding, it is important to start with the programs and learning conditions that children need and this is what Mayor Kenney’s proposal does. Additional local funding will help the School District of Philadelphia meet its responsibility to students and provide critical resources to help them meet state standards and gain the knowledge and skills they will need to be successful and productive members of our communities after they graduate. Additional local funding from Philadelphia does not get the state off the hook for providing adequate funding to SDP, however. In every district in Pennsylvania school funding is a shared responsibility between the state and local communities. Moving forward, it is critical that the state provide adequate funding to SDP so that all children can attend a quality public school with resources and programs that will allow them to have success in school and a bright future after graduation.”
Donna Frisby-Greenwood, Fund for the School District of Philadelphia: “At the Fund for the School District, we know that current public funding does not always provide all schools with resources they require, and Philadelphia’s public schools face significant inequity. With Mayor Kenney’s budget and unwavering support for public education, we believe we can continue to help determine an even brighter future of our schools and our neighborhoods.”
Gabe Morgan, Vice President of 32BJ SEIU: “The budget is a bold commitment to education and investment in good jobs. The Mayor’s budget seeks to unrig the system in favor of the hardworking men and women who clean our buildings, teach our kids, fight fires and keep us safe. President Trump offered us a budget for the super-wealthy, Mayor Kenney offered a budget for the rest of us.”
Vince Litrenta, Philadelphia Out-of-School Time Coalition: “Local control means local responsibility. Quality afterschool programs are a part our new education system for Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Out of School Time Coalition supports Mayor Kenney’s education budget proposal as he continues to show strong leadership and champions a renewed commitment to our students. Strong schools will make for stronger Out of School Time Programs. If our schools are now our responsibility then funding them responsibly is our responsibility too.”
Deborah Gordon Klehr, Education Law Center: “We applaud the Mayor’s commitment to the schoolchildren of Philadelphia. It is needed right now to prevent another round of potentially devastating budget cuts. The city, along with the state, must do much more for our children and our underfunded schools, and the mayor’s budget proposes significant, needed funding.”
The FY’19 budget documents can be found HERE.