In an editorial published by the Public School Notebook, the Law Center’s Michael Churchill discusses the real causes of the Philadelphia School District’s budget gap. Contrary to the belief that the District’s deficits are caused by excessive spending, Philadelphia actually spends $2,703 less per pupil than districts in neighboring counties. Mr. Churchill explains that the problem isn’t spending; it’s revenue. The numbers show that on average, the Philadelphia School District is left to compete with as much as 20% less state funding than other Pennsylvania districts. On a per student basis, 30% of Pennsylvania’s school districts receive more funding than Philadelphia.
The District’s leadership insists that more deep cuts are necessary to prevent a potential $1.1 billion deficit, calling the cuts a “shared burden.” But as Mr. Churchill explains, the burden is not shared at all:
“The District’s leadership says this plan provides for “shared sacrifice” to keep our schools solvent. There is one glaring problem with this argument: All the sacrifices are being demanded of Philadelphia residents, taxpayers, parents, students and staff. There is no call for the Commonwealth to rescind the massive funding cuts it imposed on the District last year”.