PCAPS is trying to set up meetings and organize lobbying of Council. If you can help let us know.
What We Want From City Council
1.We recognize and appreciate Council’s past support in stepping in to fill the gap caused by the Corbett budget cuts and the state’s failure to adopt the fair, full budget we need.
2.Nevertheless more is needed. We support the District’s call for $105 million more in city. In conjunction with the additional money that will come from the state if the Governor’s budget is passed, this can begin to reverse the decline of our schools.
- However we have differences with the SRC and the District over how that money should be spent. The highest priority should be restoring the lost positions of nurses, counselors, certified librarians, and teachers so that our schools are well staffed. The District plan to contract out nursing services should be opposed by Council. We also are opposed to charter expansion and call for investment in neighborhood public schools, including the creation of sustainable community schools beginning in high poverty neighborhoods.
4.When it comes to revenue for the schools, we oppose the whole burden being borne by working class homeowners. We should first look for revenue from the following sources:
- Increasing the Use and Occupancy tax on big corporate landlords to cancel out the tax windfall they got from AVI two years ago. This could raise up to $42.5 million
- Raise taxes on center city parking garages and lots. Land is under-assessed which encourages speculation and restricts the kind of development that would increase revenue. Increasing these taxes could raise $7.5 million
- PILOTS: Council should call for the mega-non profits who are among the city’s biggest property owners to financially support the schools, not as a form of charity, but as a regular and recurring contribution. $10 million would be a reasonable goal.
- As a condition for renewing its cable franchise, Comcast should commit to contributing to the District’s technology budget including the salaries for high school technology leaders and mobile laptops for schools. This could amount to $7 million in dedicated revenue for the District.
- Provided there is some significant shared sacrifice, then we would support a modest residential property tax increase ($3.75 per month on the median property), an increase that should be canceled out the following year with the tax relief the Governor is proposing.
6. These ideas were put forward during the recent primary campaign by Helen Gym who won nomination for a City Council at large seat, an indication of broad support for a fair share revenue plan.