Big news. “The School Reform Commission declined Thursday to adopt a budget proposal that would raise class sizes as high as 41, cut 800 teachers, reduce special education services to their bare minimum, prevent all but the most basic building maintenance, and make further cuts in services like counselors and nurses,” the Philadelphia Public School Notebook reports.
Why is this meaningful?: “The SRC made the decision even though failing to adopt a budget before the end of May violates the city charter.” It’s also unprecedented.
Why did it happen? “Rather than adopting the ‘Doomsday 2’ budget and giving anyone the impression that the cuts it contains are feasible or acceptable, we are not going to act on the budget tonight consistent with Dr. Hite’s recommendation,” said SRC Chair Bill Green, according to 6ABC.
Will there be a consequence for violating the City Charter? Officials don’t know. “We just did it,” Green said. But it looks like there’s support from City Hall. “Mayor Nutter, who had been notified of the SRC’s plans, said the commission made “a very smart” move by declining to pass a budget,” the Inquirer reports. “This was the only responsible action they could take given the uncertainty surrounding their revenues,” Nutter said in a Thursday night statement.
What next? The SRC goes back to its partners in Harrisburg and City Hall to try and raise the amount of money needed for a proper budget. Superintendent William Hite said another $2.16 million is needed to return to this year’s diminished service levels, Inky reports. Another $440 million is needed to get the schools in proper shape.