Because the Pennsylvania state legislature has not passed a budget for the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2015, school districts throughout the state have now gone more than four months without receiving state aid appropriations. As a consequence, more than two dozen school districts across the state have have borrowed over $430 million to maintain basic operations during the state’s budget crisis. Philadelphia officials are considering a plan to authorize a $250 million credit line that would keep the system running only through December. According to Auditor General Eugene DePasquale borrowings to date have already cost school districts over $14 million and that total is likely to rise substantially if the current budget impasse is not quickly resolved.
Governor Tom Wolf, a democrat, has been seeking to rectify substantial cuts in educational funding that had been implemented by his predecessor and previous legislatures. He has proposed a budget that would increase funding for schools by approximately $400 million for the current school year. So far, the Republican-controlled legislature has refused to go along with the governor’s plan, which would require tax increases and a new levy on natural gas drillers.