June 21 — 12:00 am, 2007

At the SRC . . .

In May, the School Reform Commission approved the following:

– A $2.18 billion operating budget for 2007-08
The budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 includes deep cuts in many areas, including elimination of 250 teaching positions at schools with enrollment declines and as many as 240 central and regional office positions, and cuts of over $10 million in contracted services. The SRC voted to restore 100 teaching positions and several other programs that the administration had proposed eliminating. These restorations will necessitate $18 million in additional cuts to keep the budget balanced. The commission committed to holding two public meetings in July or August to review additional expenditure reductions before they are adopted. The budget is balanced based on an assumption that the state will appropriate $54 million beyond what is now earmarked for Philadelphia in Governor Rendell’s proposed state budget.

– A resolution calling for the District to produce a class size reduction plan
The SRC called for management to prepare a plan by June 20 for achieving class size reduction in early grades in 2007-08 and subsequent years, and committed itself to consider amending the 2007-08 budget to invest in lower class sizes and make offsetting adjustments.

– A $535 million capital budget for 2007-08
The capital plan provides funding to complete construction of Audenried, Fels, and Lincoln High Schools, as well as Barry and Willard Elementary Schools and a new elementary school at G Street and Hunting Park Avenue. The six-year capital plan, totaling $2.7 billion over that period, also includes funding for a replacement building for West Philadelphia High School and for a new Kensington High School. Renovations account for the vast majority of the spending plan.

– A series of measures drafted by Mayor Street, in consultation with parents, aimed at ensuring more parent input into the budget process
The resolutions included a commitment to an unprecedented posting of four years of detailed information about each school’s budget – which is now available on the District’s website. Two additional budget hearings, to be held June 20 and June 27, were scheduled, in which SRC and District officials will be present to respond directly to questions from the public about budgetary issues. The commission also committed itself to publishing a detailed five-year financial plan by August 30, as well as a plan for involving stakeholders in future budget proceedings.

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