PSP Statement on Authorization of Cigarette Tax for Schools

Statement from the Philadelphia School Partnership’s Executive Director Mark Gleason:

“PSP applauds the leadership and members of the General Assembly for authorizing the Philadelphia cigarette tax, and for coupling the much-needed new funding stream with a charter-school reform that is in the best interest of students and families.

“Now those students and families need state and local leaders to turn their attention toward three other important financial issues: establishing a student-based school funding formula; addressing the worsening state pension crisis; and resolving the expired teachers’ contract. All of these issues are crucial to ensuring the long-term financial stability of Philadelphia public schools and enabling school leaders to invest in effective strategies to better serve those children still trapped in our city’s lowest-performing schools.

“Based on our experience funding more than two dozen traditional public, public charter, and private schools over the past three years, we know it’s possible for all children – regardless of family income or ZIP code – to learn and achieve at high levels when they have access to effective schools. Yet tens of thousands of Philadelphia students are denied this opportunity. As we turn our attention to a funding formula and other financial reforms, we must keep in mind that more money alone will not solve this crisis. We must also demand greater accountability for schools meeting student needs and make the changes needed to ensure another generation of students does not languish in ineffective schools.”