Last year, Mayor Jim Kenney boldly called for the School Reform Commission (SRC) to be disbanded and for control over our schools to be returned to the city. In doing so, he took on the responsibility to pay for schools at a time when growing deficits are expected over the next five years.
We at PBPC have long argued that the education of Philadelphians shouldn’t be a responsibility of the city alone. Not just Philadelphia but the entire commonwealth suffers because the state share of education funding has fallen from almost 50% to less than 35% of total funding.
But while we struggle to encourage Harrisburg to meet its responsibilities to the children of this state, Mayor Kenney is right to prepare the city to increase its spending on education. Indeed, we are so far from providing an adequate education to so many of our kids that even if state funding increases to a more appropriate level, we would encourage the city to supplement it.
So, what are the best options for the city to pay for K-12 education?