The $2-per-pack levy would generate about $45 million for the district in the first year, and up to $83 million in subsequent years.
Schools Superintendent William Hite said in a statement that the changes put the district back in limbo and hamper its efforts for stable, recurring funding.
"Ending the tax in five years will exacerbate our structural deficit, complicate our long-term planning efforts, make it harder to access the capital markets and strip our schools of educational services and supports," Hite said. "We implore the House and Senate to come to agreement immediately on cigarette tax legislation that does not include a sunset provision."
The proposed measure would cut the district's estimated $93 million deficit in half. Without additional revenue, officials say the district will be forced to make steep cuts, which could include laying off hundreds of teachers, putting as many as 41 students in a class, and slashing school police and building maintenance. It could also delay the opening of schools.
State Sen. Vincent Hughes, of Philadelphia, expressed frustration with the back-and-forth politics.
"It is a bit of a ping-pong effect," Hughes said, "and the schoolchildren are being dealt with in that fashion - back and forth, back and forth."
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