PHILADELPHIA, June 21, 2018 – Ahead of the finalization of the budget, City Council voted unanimously on a call-to-action resolution, introduced by Councilman Derek Green (At-Large), urging Gov. Tom Wolf and the General Assembly to pass legislation that would provide additional capital dollars – by way of the Philadelphia Parking Authority – for the School District.
“The PPA joins Councilman Green in calling for a change in the ride hailing services assessment to $.50 per trip. This new annual revenue stream would establish an initial $8 million pool of funds that would expand every year and be used to make critically needed improvements and repairs to city schools,” said Scott Petri, Executive Director. “The PPA is pleased to be working with City officials to explore way to provide additional revenue to our public schools.”
“We must challenge ourselves to come up with more creative and innovative means to restructure and revitalize the atmosphere in which we expect our kids to learn. Their future and success is contingent upon that,” said Councilman Green. “I believe this is great start and excellent exhibit of a collective effort. I applaud Scott Petri and the Parking Authority for lending their support in this endeavor.”
The passage of the legislation comes on the heels of a recent joint press conference Councilman Green held with Petri, members of Council as well as the state legislature like State Senator Vincent Hughes, State Rep. James R. Roebuck, Jr. and State Senator Art Haywood, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and District 1201, 32BJ SEIU.
“We know first-hand that Philadelphia public schools lack funding. Our members work hard to clean and maintain these schools and our first priority is making sure the students and staff are in a clean and safe environment. This resolution is a step in the right direction to start the desperately needed repairs to the aging infrastructure of our schools. Thank you, City Council, for seeing a need and taking steps to fix this problem,” said Ernie Bennett, District Leader 1201 32BJ SEIU.
“For me, it all comes down to protecting and safeguarding our young people; by ensuring that they receive a quality education, with adequate resources in a safe environment that is conducive for them to learn and grow,” said Natalie Catin St. Louis, Principal of George W. Nebinger Elementary School, where lead remediation procedures are currently under way.
“We welcome any new financial resources that can be identified to help with our well documented facilities’ needs. I appreciate the efforts of Councilman Derek Green and other members of Council who are committed to providing the funds we need to ensure students and staff across Philadelphia have the school buildings they deserve,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia.
“We mandate that our children be present in these classrooms by law and it’s up to us to ensure that those classrooms are free of hazards,” said Sen. Hughes. “The current conditions of some of our public schools amount to a public health crisis and that is simply unacceptable. I’m pleased with this emergency solution, but it’s up to the state to come up with a long-lasting solution.”
“I fully supported the Governor’s proposed budget increases for Philadelphia schools and I am happy to see that the proposed $100 million-dollar increase in basic education funding, as well as significant increases for early childhood education and school safety are included in this year’s budget,” said Rep. Roebuck.
“Funding of schools requires additional sources of money, including dollars raised from Uber, Lyft and others. In Harrisburg, we need to do more too,” said Sen. Haywood. “A severance tax on natural gas drillers must be part of the solution.”
“Providing our schoolchildren with a quality education includes ensuring that their schools are clean, healthy and safe,” said Jerry T. Jordan, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. “By introducing and passing this resolution, Councilmembers Green, Parker, Taubenberger and the rest of City Council continue to demonstrate leadership on this issue while holding the PA General Assembly accountable for providing a ‘thorough and efficient’ public education for every child in the Commonwealth.”