Philadelphia, May 31, 2013 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter issued the following statement in response to the School Reform Commission’s approval yesterday of a FY14 budget:
The School Reform Commission fulfilled its fiscal duty by approving a $2.4 billion budget Thursday evening, but no responsible adult can support the destructive level of cuts, more than $300 million, that this budget would require. I fully support Superintendent Hite’s view that losing art and music programs, after-school programming, and critical staff like assistant principals, guidance counselors, secretaries and others will turn our schools into holding areas for our young people; schools in name only.
We can avert this terrible threat to our children and their future if we focus on three critical issues. First, we must strongly support passage in Philadelphia City Council and the Pa. General Assembly of the proposed revenue package that includes increasing the liquor tax and creating a cigarette tax in Philadelphia. Second, we must urge the State to increase its level of support for the education of Pennsylvania children here in Philadelphia and across the state. And third, we must support the School District’s efforts to redesign teacher work rules to reduce costs and enhance the education environment for our children.
With this added revenue and work rule changes, the School Reform Commission can amend its budget next month and prevent the worst educational outcome in our recent history. For these critical changes to happen, we need all of Philadelphia to come together – parents and students, taxpayers and business, religious and community leaders – and let our elected officials know that this school budget is not an acceptable reality for our city’s children and that added funding can prevent these outrageous reductions.
We are at a critical point in the history of our City and State, moving toward a more technologically advanced future. We must not let our children down. We must prepare them to compete in a global economy. Now is the time for action. Our children and our City need your voices to be heard and for you to be engaged in this fight for the future of our City – educating our young people!