Charter schools urge City Council to extend 1 percent tax

Posted: April 05, 2014

Leaders from Philadelphia's charter school community on Thursday rallied outside City Hall to urge City Council to extend the extra 1 percent sales tax and use all the proceeds for schools.

"I want City Council to think about this 1 percent set aside as an investment to keep families in Philadelphia," said Jurate Krokys, chief executive of American Paradigm Schools, a charter management company that runs three city charters.

"Last week, principals from the district schools were here to point out the impact the budget cuts have had on their schools," said David Hardy, CEO of Boys' Latin of Philadelphia in West Philadelphia. "This week we come to stress that all public schools need additional funding."

A dozen charter CEOs and representatives from charter groups and education advocates said the sales tax extension was the most viable option for a stable funding stream for schools. They also support a new state funding formula.

The School District's proposed $2.8 billion budget for the next fiscal year counts on $120 million from the extension of an extra 1 percent city sales tax.

Last summer, the legislature signed off on the measure to extend the extra 1 percent sales tax, but City Council must approve legislation to make it happen. The extra-cent tax was slated to expire July 1.

Council President Darrell L. Clarke has said he would rather split the proceeds of the tax with the city's underfunded pension system.

The money charters receive is based on how much the district spent on students the year before. As a result, city charters are bracing for a drop of at least 8 percent this fall because of the drastic cuts at district schools this year.

Charter schools have lobbied for more district funds before. Last May, leaders from more than 20 charters rallied in West Philadelphia and also traveled to Harrisburg to support the district's campaign for more state and city money to cover a massive shortfall. 215-854-2789

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