City controller blasts Philly school district accounting

Philadelphia’s City Controller Alan Butkovitz talked schools and taxes when he testified before city council during budget hearings Thursday.

The Philadelphia school district has more than just deficit problems, it has organizational issues, Butkovitz said.

“Here’s a problem. Just a few months ago you wanted to know what kind of deficit the schools were the schools headed for. One of the problems is they didn’t have a comprehensive list of all their accounts payable,” he said.

Butkovitz said that means the district doesn’t know how much money it owes vendors.

He was quizzed by Councilman Wilson Goode about the Actual Value Initiative or AVI, a move to use actual values for calculating real estate taxes. Mayor Michael Nutter is pushing the plan that will yield an extra $90 million for the school district.

“How can you move to that in a vacuum, I mean clearly there needs to be fair assessments,” Butkovitz responded.

“So you are against AVI because you don’t have the assessments done yet?” said Goode.

“I’m saying that it doesn’t sound to me like it’s ready to be implemented,” Butkovitz responded.

Philadelphia is under state mandate to implement the program.

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