New Fiscal Transparency Measures to be Implemented as Local Funding for Philadelphia School District Reaches Historic Levels
Philadelphia, Oct. 7, 2015 – The City Council of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, and the School District of Philadelphia on Wednesday entered into an intergovernmental cooperation agreement to increase information-sharing among the state-controlled school system and City Council, which has increased local funding by approximately 40 percent since 2011.
Under terms of the agreement, the School District will submit quarterly financial reports to City Council including information regarding expenditures, revenues, hires and staff vacancies. The reports will also be made available to the public on the District’s website. The Chief Financial Officer of the School District will meet with City Council staff to discuss each report and any other issues or concerns regarding the operations or finances of the District.
The District will continue to prepare a five-year financial plan, to be released annually, that includes revenue and expenditure projections as well as longer-term investment goals for the approval of the School Reform Commission.
“In response to the crisis brought on by cuts in state funding for public education, City Council has stepped up with increased local support for Philadelphia schools year after year. This has propelled a new, and some might say welcome, change in the relationship between City Council and the School District of Philadelphia,” Council President Clarke said. “The document we signed today formalizes what already is a more involved and collaborative relationship between Council, which has no vote on the School Reform Commission, and public schools. City Council is eager to work more directly with District leaders toward this shared goal: quality public education for all kids, no matter where they live in Philadelphia.”
“This agreement furthers our goal of transparency and our focus on fiscal stability,” SRC Chair Neff added. “We are grateful to Council President Clarke for his partnership in this endeavor.”
“Ensuring that all children in Philadelphia have a great school close to home requires the collective effort of all stakeholders,” Superintendent Hite said. “We are excited about increased collaboration with City Council in support of that shared goal.”
“Philadelphians deserve a greater voice in the education of their children. As their representatives, City Council should have a seat at the table when it comes to the School District of Philadelphia,” Education Chair Blackwell said. “More real-time information about the District’s operations will help inform our budget process and our advocacy on behalf of our children and families in Harrisburg.”
The agreement comes as school districts across the Commonwealth await a state spending plan for the current fiscal year.
“Pennsylvania has the most inequitable public school funding system in the nation, and Philadelphia schools are the ground zero of this policy failure,” Council President Clarke continued. “City Council continues to urge the General Assembly to pass responsible revenue measures that will provide sustainable and fair funding for public education.”
The Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement follows a Council resolution, adopted on June 18, 2015, calling for the establishment of an intergovernmental fiscal oversight entity for the School District of Philadelphia.