Stack: Delinquent Tax Collections Key to Balancing School Budget, Not Rhetoric
PHILADELPHIA, May 4, 2012 — State Sen. Mike Stack today said he believes School District of Philadelphia Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen’s recent comments about the potential fallout of the district’s budget deficit is not helpful toward closing the gap in funding.
Stack sent a letter to School Reform Commission Chairman Pedro Ramos expressing his disappointment with Knudsen’s comments in the May 2 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer, in which Knudsen said that schools may not open in the fall if the school district does not receive $94 million from the city’s proposed property reassessment plan.
“Knudsen’s hyperbole shifts the focus from helping students and leads the Philadelphia School Reform Commission down the wrong path,” Stack said in his letter to Ramos. “Playing with the emotions and using the future of students, parents, and teachers as a bargaining chip, whether intentionally or unintentionally, does not help the SRC’s mission of educating students.”
Stack said the Nutter administration should first focus on going after delinquent taxpayers who owe the city nearly $500 million in unpaid property tax collections.
“Knudsen’s ‘sky is falling’ rhetoric takes away hope from our students, parents, property owners, and teachers, and staggering tax delinquency rates make it harder to advocate for the city and school district at the state level,” Stack said.
Stack implored Ramos to encourage his colleagues at the SRC to tone down the rhetoric, work with city leaders and state legislative delegations to reduce the tax delinquency rate, and work with all parties in a positive direction.
Editor’s Note: Attached please find a copy of the letter sent to SRC Chairman Pedro Ramos for your review.