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

Officials believe it will be harder to increase district's share next year

Pat Loeb
May 22, 2018 - 4:47 pm

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia Parking Authority will contribute more than expected to the Philadelphia School District this fiscal year, but officials said they can't guarantee the increased funding will continue. 

PPA's new Executive Director Scott Petri suggested a change in state law to make funding more predictable.

At its monthly board meeting, he said PPA would give the school district $13 million dollars this year — $3 million more than expected — thanks to reining in costs and increasing revenue from hiring new parking enforcement officers.

But because of quirks in the state-imposed formula for how ticket revenue is distributed between the city and school district, Petri said it will actually be harder to increase the district's share next year.

"There's a kicker in there for performance, so basically the way the formula's drafted, the city's portion never goes down," he explained. "If there's a decline it's always going to come out of the school district."

Petri has been talking to his ex-colleagues in the legislature about changing that provision before they recess next month to bring stability to district funding. 

PPA is still calculating how much it took in from the amnesty program in March and April. More than 20,000 people settled back tickets.

City Councilwoman Helen Gym doesn't think the formula is as much the problem as PPA expenditures.

"They're moving in the right direction but I still think we need more," she said. "The real issue is the Parking Authority still needs oversight."