|Finally, help for Philadelphia schools, but no solution for Pennsylvania’s education funding crisis
The House and Senate finally agreed on legislation this week to authorize Philadelphia to charge a local $2-per-pack cigarette tax to help fund city schools. The governor signed the bill, which will allow district schools to remain open this academic year and avoid more crippling teacher layoffs and school closings.
Unfortunately, the nearly three-month delay in passing the new law while Republicans in the House and Senate bickered over non-related political issues cost the Philadelphia School District more than $10 million. In addition, the cigarette tax in Philadelphia does nothing to restore the $1 billion in state funding for Philadelphia and other Pennsylvania schools cut by Gov. Corbett in his first budget.
Pennsylvanians list education as their top priority right now: fair and adequate funding for all schools, a quality classroom education for all students, and an increase in the state’s share of school funding so local homeowners and other taxpayers can get some relief. That’s the kind of education reform House Democrats are committed to fighting for in the remainder of this legislative session and into the next.