Today I announced my proposed budget for the next fiscal year.

This budget focuses on the commitment I made last November when I said Philadelphia was going to take back control of our School District. We need to step up and provide the financial stability our students and our District needs.

I’m proposing a $980 million plan to provide stability to the School District over the next five years.

Over the last two years our District has made progress. With this commitment, we expect to see steady progress each year — with more students reading on grade level, graduating, and successfully transitioning into college and careers.

Neighborhoods will flourish around a growing number of successful schools.

Families will know they have quality educational options for their kids, and businesses will know their future workers are getting the training and skills they need to succeed.

If we don’t provide this funding, the School District will face over a $900 million deficit. They will have no choice but to return to the days of painful cuts–taking nurses, counselors, and teachers out of classrooms.

To provide the funding, we’ve asked everyone to pitch in. The City will increase its contribution by $100 million and we will slow down the rate of our wage tax reductions to provide $340 million over the next five years.  We’ll increase the real estate transfer tax to bring it about $66 million. Finally, we will introduce a 6% property tax increase. For the average residential property owner, that property tax means an additional $95 more per year.

I know for many of our residents this will be a sacrifice for you. And you deserve to know exactly what your sacrifice will accomplish. You can explore the budget documents online, including our five year plan, my full address to City Council, and the budget data.

A wise man once said, “an underdog is a hungry dog.” Philly’s children — the real underdogs — are hungry.

Hungry for knowledge they can only get through a properly funded school. For opportunities that only a high school diploma can achieve. For the one thing that so many others throughout our state take for granted: hope. Hope for a better future.

I’m ready to be held accountable. I do so because I envision the day when we are cheering, not only athletes on the Parkway, but students at a podium:

Holding diplomas…

Holding scholarships…

Holding job offers…

And holding the hands of their proud family.

Students who, for the first time, are holding on to the realization that they are no longer underdogs, they’re champions.

I hope you’ll stand with me as we make that a reality.

Please note: the Office of Property Assessment has released new assessments that have reduced the School District’s anticipated deficit to $660 million. Because of that the proposed budget has changed, which includes reducing the property tax to a 4.1% increase. You can learn more about the new budget proposal in the March 2018 release.