Just weeks after the death of a Philadelphia schoolgirl and amid mounting pressure from school advocates and civil rights groups, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett announced on Wednesday that he would release $45 million in funding that he’d been withholding from the beleaguered Philadelphia School District.
For months Republican Gov. Corbett said that he would not release the funds, a one-time federal grant, without $100 million in contract concessions from the teachers union and various reforms by the city and school district. A month and a half into the school year, the city’s teachers are still working under an expired contract. City leaders and state Democrats have argued that reforms are being made and have demanded the release of the money, as deep budget cuts have left the school district already hobbled. Facing a $304 million budget shortfall, the district shuttered 23 public schools and laid off nearly 4,000 employees.