ABOVE PHOTO: Dr. William Hite (Photo/School District of Philadelphia)
The budget reflects the highest level of investment in schools and students since 2011.
Last week, the School District of Philadelphia’s Board of Education approved the District’s operating budget for the 2022-2023 school year, which represents the highest level of investment in our schools and students since the fiscal year 2011.
“We are thankful for the infusion of one-time federal funding from the American Recovery Plan Act, which has made these dramatic investments in our schools and students possible,” said Superintendent William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D. “We are also grateful for the amazing work of every School District employee as we use these investments to support the social, emotional and academic needs of all of our students.”
Despite the projection of fewer students in the upcoming school year, the District’s approved budget further increases its operating budget by more than $175 million. Families, staff, and stakeholders helped inform the School District of Philadelphia’s plan by participating in the annual Budget Engagement Survey, which was available in nine languages in addition to English. Based on survey results, some of the additions in the budget include:
• Permanently doubling hours and providing full-time benefits for student climate staff
• Further improving counselor-to-student ratios
• Adding more special education teachers, teachers for English language learners and bilingual counseling assistants
• Expanding environmental improvements that move the District closer toward the goal of certifying all schools lead safe by 2024
• Supporting the installation of 800 additional hydration stations in schools by 2025 or sooner.
For the current 2021-2022 school year, the School District invested hundreds of millions of additional dollars to: add targeted positions to meet the specific needs of schools; provide recruitment and retention bonuses for school-based staff to support continuity for its students; enhance before-school and after-school programs in schools; increase the number of psychologists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, behavioral health counselors and climate and trauma response specialists in schools; expand summer learning programs and more.
With current investment levels, the District now has a teacher for every 12.3 students and a school-based staff member for every 6.5 students.
“Our goal every year is to make continued progress in the investments that support students, schools and student learning,” said Uri Monson, the District’s chief financial officer. “The 2022-2023 budget continues to strategically use one-time federal relief funding and provides students with the most favorable staff-to-student ratio in a decade.”
The City and Commonwealth are expected to adopt their budgets, which also impact the District’s budget, in June. To learn more about the District’s budget, visit: www.philasd.org/budget/services/public-information/.