DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Annual Certification Under Section 7201-B(e) of the Tax Reform Code
[51 Pa.B. 186]
[Saturday, January 9, 2021]
December 28, 2020
William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D.
School District of Philadelphia
440 North Broad Street, Suite 301
Philadelphia, PA 19130
I am writing pursuant to Section 7201-B(e) of the Tax Reform Code, Act 52 of 2013, 72 P.S. § 7201-B(e), which provides that a city of the first class may impose a one percent sales and use tax that may be used by a school district of the first class in an amount up to $120,000,000. Effective July 1, 2014, the City of Philadelphia imposed this sales and use tax. However, the use of these funds by the School District of Philadelphia (''District'') must be authorized by the Secretary of Education.
Pursuant to Section 7201-B(e)(1), as Secretary of Education, I must consider whether ''the school district. . .began implementation of reforms that provide for [the District's] fiscal stability, educational improvement and operational control.''
According to the District, it has utilized new funding from the City of Philadelphia to build on previous investments and expand those investments, including:
▪ Training all K—3 teachers to be expert literacy instructors;
▪ Hiring an early literacy coach in all District elementary schools to ensure the highest quality instruction;
▪ Modernizing 500+ early literacy classrooms across 39 schools;
▪ Distributing 1+ million new books across K—3 classrooms;
▪ Increasing access to Advanced Placement and dual enrollment classes for high school;
▪ Hiring nurses and counselors in every school; and,
▪ Establishing music and art classes in every elementary school.
The District is also implementing the following new programs and initiatives aimed at increasing the range and quality of educational options available to students, including:
▪ Improving Literacy: since school year 2014-2015, over 4,600 3rd grade students have moved up a performance tier on the English Language Arts section of the PSSAs in 2019, including 3,100 who moved out of Below Basic.
▪ School Progress Report: 75% of schools (156 schools) saw an increase in overall SPR score and 45% of schools (94 schools) increased their tier; the number of schools in the highest tiers of school performance (Reinforce and Model) increased from 36 to 82; the number of schools in the lowest tier of school performance decreased from 88 to 50; 30 schools increased their overall score two years in a row; 12 schools increased their overall score three years in a row; and, 6 schools increased their overall score four years in a row.
▪ Career and College Readiness: among District high schools, the four-year cohort graduation was 78%; approximately two-thirds of District high schools saw an increase in SPR College and Career Readiness score from 2014-2015 to 2018-2019; increased the number of District high school students on track to graduate in four years.
▪ School Climate: 73% of District schools saw an increase in SPR climate scores since 2017-2018, and 92% have since 2014-2015; improved the percentage of students attending 95% or more of instructional days; fewer students received out-of-school suspensions.
The District has also reported that additional steps have been taken to improve operational controls and to maintain fiscal stability, including that it projects to end the fiscal year with a $178.5 million positive fund balance. It is also the sixth consecutive year with a year-end positive fund balance.
As a result of the foregoing reforms documented by the District, I hereby certify that the requisites of Section 7201-B(e) of the Tax Reform Code have been satisfied. I authorize the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue to disburse to the District, on or before the tenth day of every month, the total amount of money contained in the Local Sales and Use Tax Fund as of the last day of the previous month up to a maximum of $120,000,000 pursuant to section 7201-B(e)(2) of the Tax Reform Code.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 21-48. Filed for public inspection January 8, 2021, 9:00 a.m.]
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