As if making schools dependent on property taxes wasn't bad enough, now Philadelphia Public Schools will have to rely on cigarette sales just to make it through the year. Without the regressive $2-a-pack cigarette tax increase passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Corbett last week, the city schools and schools throughout the state are facing more draconian cuts in October. Much of the revenue generated by the new tax will be used to expand the already swelling ranks of privately-run charter schools in the city.
This from The Philadelphia Public School Notebook:
Something is seriously wrong with this picture. Pennsylvania is not a poor state and is situated in one of the richest countries in the world. But many districts can’t provide our children with school personnel we once took for granted. Not to mention books, technology – and in some cases, soap and toilet paper.
That’s not just a Pennsylvania problem. The United States is unusual among industrialized countries in having it backward: We spend the fewest education dollars on the neediest students. If we want to spend tax dollars wisely and get results, we need to flip that script.Three years of Rahm is enough... Andy Shaw, President & CEO of the BGA, tries to give a balanced assessment of the mayor's first three years. But he can't help conclude that Rahm's positives are mostly "low-hanging fruit" with "limited progress on the more daunting challenges, including comprehensive budget, TIF and ethics reform."
Shaw reports that under the current Chicago mayor's regime, "community participation is virtually non-existent, and there’s still a long way to go to eliminate pension woes, structural deficits, poor credit ratings and excessive long-term borrowing".
The city hasn’t stopped using tens of millions of TIF dollars to assist wealthy corporations, institutions and clouted contractors in areas that aren’t truly blighted, when the money should be spent in struggling parts of the city that sorely need economic development.Shaw might have included some mention Rahm's devastating closing of dozens of neighborhood public schools in black and Latino communities along with record levels of gun violence across the city.