The School District of Philadelphia
Office of Communications
440 N. Broad Street, Suite 301~Philadelphia, PA 19130-4015~(215)400-4040
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Fernando Gallard
SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA RELEASES PROPOSED OPERATING BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2015
Proposed Budget Outlines Need for Substantial Investments in Students and Schools
PHILADELPHIA - Today, the School
District of Philadelphia released its proposed operating budget for Fiscal Year
2015, reflecting the need for substantially increased investment in students
and schools. Under the $2.49 billion
proposed budget the School District will not be able to maintain the current
level of school services and programs without further resources.
The total additional funding need for schools is $440 million in FY 2015. To maintain a similar level of support for schools and students in FY15 as was available in FY14, a level that is wholly insufficient, the District would require, at minimum, the $120 million from the sales tax authorization and an additional $96.2 million, totaling $216.2 million in new funding. The remaining $223.8 million of the $440 million requested would fund additional staff and services needed to accelerate the District’s transformation of schools.
“From limited revenue growth to increasing health and retirement costs, we are in dire financial circumstances. Our funding challenges are real,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent. “Without significantly more investments, the District may find itself reversing gains from recent years, decelerating student progress instead of accelerating our Action Plan v.2.0 goals.”
In the absence of any additional funding, the District would need to reduce projected expenditures. However, given the deep cuts to services and programs over the last year, there are few remaining areas that will not substantially impact the District’s ability to deliver on the right of all students to an excellent education and ensure they graduate from high school ready for college and career. Further reductions would come from school and administrative supports, increased class sizes and more than 1,000 staff layoffs.
Hite added, “Short of the $216 million our schools will go from insufficient to just empty shells that do not represent what I would consider a functioning school.”
In March, the District outlined the $320 million investment required to achieve its Action Plan v2.0 goals in early literacy, instruction and administration, high school graduation rates and financial sustainability. With additional recurring revenues, the District could provide the following: increased supports for student learning, expanded academic programs; enhanced teacher and principal development; improved parent services; upgraded technological systems; and stronger partnerships.
The release of the proposed budget marks the start of a multi-stage budget process: The School Reform Commission will conduct a public hearing to on Wednesday, April 30, at 5:30 p.m. to hear public testimony on the proposed budget for FY 2015. City Council hearings on the budget are scheduled for May 5th. The SRC will vote on a final budget on May 29, 2014.
Attached to the press release is The School District of Philadelphia’s FY 2015 Budget in Brief document that summarizes the proposed operating budget and its components. All budget documents and information will be posted on the District’s website at www.philasd.org.
Additionally, in the interest of financial transparency, the District will post the FY 2014 estimated budget and FY 2015 proposed budget on Open Data Philly along with data on vendor expenditures and positions for FY 2014.