Board of Education Approves District’s Lump Sum Budget for Fiscal Year 2020

Posted on March 29, 2019
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Categories: News from SDP

PHILADELPHIA — The Board of Education yesterday approved a resolution adopting the $3.36 billion Lump Sum Budget for the School District of Philadelphia for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20). The budget plan enhances previous investments made in areas such as early literacy and college and career readiness, and supports additional priorities to further improve academic outcomes for students across the city.

“Thanks to years of thoughtful planning, the District’s finances are the most stable they have been since I arrived in 2012,” said Dr. William R. Hite, superintendent. “While we had to make difficult decisions, we also made a series of investments that now allow us to build upon our hard-won fiscal stability and work to improve learning experiences for all students, no matter where they live. With a strong partner in Mayor Kenney, we are looking forward to enacting a budget that would provide more programming to support college and career readiness, enhance literacy and math teaching and learning, and improve the behavioral supports we have available to students in our schools.”

The FY20 budget would allow the District to:

  • Expand the kindergarten to third grade literacy model to grades four and five with additional literacy coaches and new leveled libraries and furniture;
  • Build a strong foundation to boost math teaching and learning by improving upon current curriculum;
  • Establish a new Office of Career Connectedness in conjunction with the City;
  • Offer more dual enrollment opportunities for all high school students;
  • Provide for more behavioral health staff and counselors in schools;
  • Add more nurses to minimize vacancies and absences;
  • Enhance supports for students with disabilities;
  • Hire 30 additional ESOL teachers to help English language learners; and
  • Add 25 more teacher residents for hard-to-fill subject areas including STEM and special education.

The District also projected a positive fund balance through FY21.

“The projected Five-Year Plan balances investments in our programs and our facilities, while maintaining continued fiscal stability going forward,” noted Uri Monson, the School District’s Chief Financial Officer. “This approach provides for investments that we can maintain and build upon.”

The vote on the Lump Budget comes days after the District released its update around its Action Plan 3.0, which showed three consecutive years of improvement for city schools. Some of the most exciting accomplishments since 2015 include higher graduation and early literacy rates, double the number of higher-performing schools and 50 percent fewer lower-performing schools, $19.5 million invested in classroom modernizations, and the District’s first investment grade rating from Moody’s Investor Services since 1977.

“We have made some incredible progress over the past few years, but there’s still work to do,” said Dr. Hite. “We are hopeful that this budget will enhance our work with families, volunteers, businesses and nonprofits so we can ensure every child has access to a great school, close to where they live.”

All budget documents and information regarding upcoming budget hearings is posted on the District’s website.

The passage of the Lump Sum Budget marks the start of a multi-stage budget process. In late April, the District will publicly release budget books – more detailed documents showing how expenses will be allocated within the District’s schools and operations. There will be a Board of Education budget hearing on April 25. The Board and District representatives will also testify on the budget before City Council on May 14 with the Board scheduled to vote May 30 on a final budget.