Plan to fund Philly schools shifts as budget battle nears deadline

Gov. Tom Corbett
Gov. Tom Corbett. (Credit: Rikard Larma / Metro).

The Pennsylvania Senate on Sunday voted 33-17 to approve a $28.4 billion budget, which was Sunday evening being debated in the state House of Representatives.

With just hours to go before the end of the fiscal year, Harrisburg’s plan to fund the embattled School District of Philadelphia appeared to have shifted radically, with just $14 million in additional dollars allocated for basic education in the city, per the budget passed by the Senate.

The School District is facing a $304 million deficit in the next fiscal year, which has led to mass layoff notices and the planned elimination of all extracurricular and support programs.

Though a bill enabling Philadelphia to levy a $2-per-pack cigarette tax to raise revenue for the schools stalled Sunday, legislation advanced allowing the city to strengthen its tax collections and to make permanent a temporary one percent sales tax, diverting some of the revenue to schools, which could together garner up to $130 million annually.

Legislators also pledged $45 million in state monies slated to repay a recently forgiven federal debt, but suggested some funds may only be made available if city schools adhere to certain performance and management criteria.

Though there was plenty of mutual back-slapping from state Senators regarding the austerity of the greenlit budget – state Sen. Jake Corman (R–Centre) compared the government’s fiscal restraint with cutbacks made by those in the private sector – others pointed out Pennsylvanians are the ones who will feel the brunt of the budgetary priorities, not lawmakers.

“The money – just so everyone’s clear – it doesn’t go to us,” state Sen. Daylin Leach (D–Montgomery) said.

“We’re not spending this money on beer and knockwurst or whatever it is for legislators. … When we say, ‘We’re doing more with less,’ what it really means is poor kids are doing with less, people who are sick are doing with less, people who are handicapped and elderly are doing with less, or people who have a road in front of their house that hasn’t been fixed and can’t get to work – they’re doing with less.”

The fates of two central components of this year’s state budget – a $2 billion transportation funding package and a liquor privatization overhaul pushed by Gov. Tom Corbett – remained up in the air Sunday evening.

Corbett continued to press lawmakers to pass the liquor privatization measure Sunday.

“I urge the members of the Senate to pass House Bill 790 as amended and send it to the House for concurrence today,” Corbett said in a statement.

“I am asking the House to then immediately take action and concur on the bill as is and get it to my desk. I will proudly sign this bill into law. This bill as amended is a historic step and we must not lose this opportunity to deliver a reform the people of Pennsylvania want and deserve.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…