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District's surplus eroded by state budget impasse

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  • l parker hite
    Bastiaan Slabbers and Nathaniel Hamilton / NewsWorks)

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Despite a persistent lack of resources, the School District of Philadelphia ended its last fiscal year in June with an $88 million surplus.

Because of the ongoing state budget impasse, school officials said, those funds will not mean more services for children in classrooms this year.

At a City Council education committee hearing Monday, Councilwoman Cherelle Parker questioned Superintendent William Hite about the surplus, as outlined in a report released last week.

"After all the budget cuts that the School District has had to deal with over the past five years now in particular, how do we end up with a surplus?" Parker said.

Hite explained that local tax revenues outperformed expectations and that the District decided against immediately committing the money to classrooms for this school year because of what looked to become a logjam in the state Capitol.

"Quite frankly, it's just a timing issue. More monies came available later in the year during a time when there was uncertainty in Harrisburg," said Hite in a follow-up interview after the hearing. "So it was hard to book those monies when we didn't know if we would have a budget that provided us with sufficient resources."

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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Kevin McCorry

Kevin is WHYY/NewsWorks' senior education writer.