Gov. Corbett releases $45 million for schools

Philadelphia School District Superintendent William Hite Jr. says now is not the time to expand charter schools. Credit: Rikard Larma/Metro
Credit: Rikard Larma/Metro

The School District of Philadelphia will get its money.

Gov. Tom Corbett will release the previously withheld one-time state grant of $45 million for the city schools. The state refused to release the funds until significant financial and educational reforms were implemented by the school district.

After reading a letter written by Superintendent William Hite, Corbett said he was satisfied that enough progress has been made.

“I firmly believe that all students deserve a safe, high-quality education that will prepare them for college and career,” Corbett said. “I also believe that fiscal and academic reforms are necessary for the long-term survival of the School District of Philadelphia.”

Superintendent Hite said at a press conference today that this grant “returns critical resources to our schools.”

Assistant principals, guidance counselors and support staff as well as more teachers and aides for special education programs will be added, Hite said.

Hite added that seniority will be a factor when deciding which staffers will return, but said it won’t be the only factor.

The original amount, $304 million, requested by the school district, is now down to $133 million – the amount if givebacks the schools want from union contract concessions.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan said the release of the grant is welcome news, but not a permanent fix.

“The PFT, along with Philadelphia’s students, parents and community leaders, will continue our efforts to get Harrisburg to implement an adequate and sustainable funding formula for public education across the commonwealth,” Jordan said in a statement.

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