PUBLIC EDUCATION

I have been working to restructure the Philadelphia School District’s governance to implement global “best practices” to ensure that every school provides academic excellence, up-to-date vocational and career training, technology and resources in the classroom, in a safe environment that is run efficiently, economically and effectively.

We need the State to fund the transition of the School District back to local control. Harrisburg is likely to fund this transition if Philadelphia presents it with a workable plan that improves educational quality and fiscal responsibility. In October 2014, I introduced Charter change legislation to do just that and I am meeting with stakeholders and state legislators regarding this effort.

Our City is challenged to reduce the high rate of students dropping out of high school. An estimated 250,000 Philadelphia residents have very low literacy with difficulty following basic written instructions or completing a job application. I’ve held hearings on the effectiveness of European Vocational Education and Training (VET). I included such a VET program, along with vocational and career training, in my School governance reform bill to provide a more educated and competitive workforce to attract more employers and, ultimately, jobs.

Furthermore, we need to reach an agreement with the State to adopt a sustainable solution to funding Philadelphia Schools. In the meantime, the City can raise an additional $26 million in annual funds for Philadelphia schools without raising taxes by improving the efficiency of local tax collection. We can raise an additional $2 million in annual funds for Philadelphia schools without raising taxes by closing loopholes for vehicle owners who do not register with the Department of Transportation and who intentionally collect license plates to evade boot and tow. The implementation of this bill would raise approximately $2 million annually. I introduced such a bill in January 2015.

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