With no budget, Philly schools could close in a month

School District cleaning 46 schools over summer
Charles Mostoller

As state legislators continue to wrangle over the months-late state budget, Philadelphia schools to official said without more funding, the city’s schools may need to shut down in January.

Superintendent Dr. William Hitesent school staff a letter Wendesday saying that by Jan. 29, with no state budget, the school would no longer be able to pay for operating costs, the Inquirer reported.

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Past Jan. 29, “our ability to keep schools open, issue paychecks and pay bills is uncertain,” Hite wrote.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan released a statement on Wednesday responding to the news, calling the budget showdown “a full-scale emergency.”

“Our school district, like many others, finds itself on the brink of a shutdown because legislators have put partisan ideology ahead of educating its citizens,” Jordan wrote. “This is a dereliction of duty that has jeopardized the futures of our schoolchildren.”

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Gov. Tom Wolf campaigned to office on the promise of increased funding for public schools, in part through a proposed five percent extraction tax on fracking in the state.

The fracking tax appears to no longer be in the cards, however, and the proposed versions of the state budget have included a proposed increase in sales tax to make up the funding.

Reports say the legislature could be voting this week on a new version of the budget deal.