Timing of school-budget request questioned by City Council

The Philadelphia School District is asking the city for an extra $60 million for next school year.

During budget hearings Tuesday, City Council grilled members of Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration about how long ago they knew of the request.

Philadelphia Chief Education Officer Lori Shorr and Councilman Wilson Goode Jr. got into a back and forth over the school district’s new budget, which is counting on $60 million in new money from the city and $120 million from Pennsylvania.

“Does the mayor’s office support the $60 million request from the school district?” Goode asked.

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“Yes,” Shorr replied.

“Was the mayor’s office involved in developing the budget request?” Goode said.

Explained Shorr, “we’ve known for a while of what their structural deficit might be. The day before the budget came out, we learned of what the ratio might be, the two-to-one ratio between the state ask and the city ask, so we did get a heads up.”

Goode was upset that City Council found out about the financial request at the last minute.

“Did you want to know sooner than the day before?” he said to Shorr.

“I think we knew what we needed to know before the day before,” she said.

“That answers everything,” Goode said.

Council has not decided whether to approve the $60 million.

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