The Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools fully welcomes any additional funding for Philadelphia public schools and applauds Governor Tom Corbett’s decision to finally release $45 million in federal funds for Philadelphia Schools. We also applaud the many parents, students, teachers, and activists who rallied tirelessly to demand this money from the governor. However, it is important to note that the governor’s decision to delay release of this funding caused untold damage to city students, led to unnecessary suffering and confusion at the start of the school year, and seriously disrupted students’ return to classes. The governor chose to force Philly school students to suffer in the vain hope of furthering his long-standing interest in hurting public sector unions and pushing “reforms” that weaken public schooling. The governor is no friend to Philadelphia public schools.
Given the chance to find additional funds for Philadelphia schools facing a massive budget deficit coming into this year, the governor produced only $2 million in new state spending. But he held up $45 million in federal funds so he could demand teachers give up as much as $100 million in salary and benefits and weaken their negotiated seniority rules. He has continually failed to support a fair funding formula for school districts across the state, has refused to adequately tax fracking to find money for schools, and has continued tax cuts for corporations. Releasing the $45 million was literally the least the governor could do.
While this infusion of cash will allow the Philadelphia School District to rehire some teachers and staff that had been laid off and to restart canceled programs, it won’t even restore the district to the state it was in last year, when it already lacked proper funding. PCAPS continues to fight for FULL, fair funding for Philadelphia schools and urges the governor and General Assembly to properly fund Philadelphia schools and all school districts in the state.