After weeks of insisting that a larger portion of a sales-tax extension go to the city's employee pension fund, Council voted Thursday to give the district the higher amount, but with a proviso that the split could be changed if the legislature passes a cigarette tax for city schools.
As if leaving that degree of uncertainty weren't enough, Council then stuck it to the district again by reducing the amount it had agreed to borrow to help schools make it through the current year.
Because the sales-tax cash won't be available until next fiscal year, the city had agreed to borrow
That sounded fine, but then Clarke decided the loan should be reduced by whatever the district expected to be paid for the buildings. So instead of
Clarke may be trying to appear frugal, but giving the schools less than what the state's authorizing legislation directed looks like something else. He has criticized the district for not selling vacant buildings faster. Reducing the loan amount appears to be Clarke's way of snapping a whip to get the district to speed up its efforts to sell unused properties.
That zest for quick transactions is at odds with Clarke's approach to the pending sale of
Clarke says of the PGW sale that Council is only ensuring due diligence. Shouldn't the same due diligence be shown in selling vacant school buildings? What happens after they are sold could have a dramatic impact on the Philadelphians who live nearby.
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