March 28, 2016

03.28 04:51 PM | Budget Update from the Superintendent

From: "William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D." <>
Sent: Monday, March 28, 2016 2:55:05 PM
Subject: Budget Update from the Superintendent

Dear Colleagues:


Last Thursday, the School Reform Commission (SRC) approved our Lump Sum budget for fiscal year (FY) 2016-17 and reviewed a preliminary Five-Year Plan for FY 2017-21. This vote is the official start to the annual budget process that culminates with the FY2016-17 budget adoption on May 26. The presentation from last week’s meeting is available here for your review.


We released the preliminary Plan as early as possible to provide you, families and our funders with a clear view of our priorities and challenges. The Five-Year Plan is updated annually, reflecting any changes in our financial outlook. It is my hope that we will use the Plan as a guide towards achieving our collective goals over the next several years. The Plan makes several assumptions regarding our future revenues and expenses through the 2020-21 school year and highlights potential risks and challenges. As we take those assumptions and challenges into consideration, it is clear that we must maintain our focus on school improvement.


The Plan illustrates our target academic milestones and financial goals, which include:

  • Increasing our graduation rate to 80 percent, up from our current 65 percent
  • Doubling our early literacy proficiency rates to 66 percent, with two out of three children reading on grade level by age 8
  • Developing and supporting teachers and principals with an emphasis on strong instructional and leadership skills
  • Achieving balanced annual budget projections

 The Five-Year plan includes $440 million over the next six years focused on literacy supports, college and career readiness programming, and workforce investments including fair workforce agreements that allow for 21st century learning environments.


Over the next few years, we are projecting short-term surpluses due to higher than expected revenue collections, savings in certain expense areas (fuel, utilities, charter enrollment) and unfilled vacancies. However, the plan also shows significant operating and fund balance deficits at the five-year mark, further underscoring our need for sustained, recurring investments to create a district of high-quality schools. Revenues identified in the plan are consistent with the City of Philadelphia’s 5-year plan. A significant revenue assumption is the passage of a state budget that includes education funding at the level proposed by the Governor in his February budget address. It is crucial that we continue to work together in support of additional investments in public education.


I will provide updates as we continue through the budget process.  


Thank you for all you do to support children and schools.




William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D.
The School District of Philadelphia

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