School District Prepping For Massive Budget Cuts

[Photo by Marvy!]

INQUIRER: Confronted with a possible $430 million shortfall in the next fiscal year, Philadelphia School Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman has asked her top administrators to prepare contingency plans to cut 20 percent, 25 percent, and 30 percent of their budgets. The directive was contained in a brief e-mail sent Dec. 29 to members of Ackerman’s leadership team, according to district sources. The plans were due at 10 a.m. Tuesday, and top administrators are scheduled to gather for a budget meeting Friday morning. The district, which has 162,000 students and nearly 24,000 employees, currently receives 55 percent of its $3.2 billion budget from the state. But district officials are doubtful about their prospects in Harrisburg once the fiscal year ends June 30. Gov.-elect Tom Corbett has pledged not to raise taxes, and he and the Republican-controlled legislature are facing a $4 billion state deficit in the next fiscal year. An additional $250 million in federal stimulus funds used to balance this year’s budget will not be available in the future. The city contributes about 27 percent – and in an election year for City Council and the mayor, local officials are typically reluctant to raise taxes. MORE

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