PPA budget allocates more to school district, but critics argue not enough

Pat Loeb
March 19, 2019 - 7:52 pm
The Philadelphia Parking Authority passed a $280 million budget Tuesday that allocates $14 million for the School District of Philadelphia — $4 million more than last year.

Pat Loeb/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia Parking Authority passed a $280 million budget Tuesday that allocates $14 million for the School District of Philadelphia — $4 million more than last year.

But critics at the meeting said it's still far below what PPA should be providing. 

The group called Pay Up PPA held a news conference before the meeting to demand that PPA structure its budget to give the district $25 million, which is half of what was promised when PPA was put under state jurisdiction 20 years ago, according to Rev. Melanie DuBose.

"What would it be like to have an extra $1,000 to spend on every student?" DuBose asked. "That could mean a reduction in class size. That could mean an increase in technology that would put them on a competitive level with everyone else in this country."

This year's PPA budget also allocates $108 million for other government agencies.

"We are saying to you, PPA: E-freakin'-nough is e-freakin'-nough," DuBose said loudly. "Research has indicated that you're stealing our kids' money." 

READ: School district gets windfall from PPA, but uncertainty looms in long run 

However, PPA Executive Director Scott Petri said it has increased its contributions across the board. The state-mandated funding formula governs how much goes to the district, and the group needs to take it up with the the state legislature. 

"It's something we have no ability to adjust," he said.

Petri recommended an additional 50 cents per ride fee for taxis and ride shares, which would provide an additional $8 million for the district. There may be other solutions, too, but they still need state approval.

"We'll try to produce as much revenue as we reasonably can without being overly aggressive in issuing tickets," he added. "Maybe people already think we're there. It is a real political issue, in the end."