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Philadelphia Schools: Another Year, Another Budget Crisis

Trying to figure out why Philadelphia’s public schools have been teetering on insolvency the past few years is no easy task.

But let’s start with some basic facts. The district, the eighth largest in the nation, is entirely dependent on three sources of money: Almost half of its $2.8 billion budget comes from the city. A little over a third comes from the state. Most of the rest comes from the federal government.

The problem is that it’s not nearly enough. Only 36 cents out of every dollar goes to kids and classrooms. A huge chunk of money — $727 million — goes to charter schools, which compete with traditional public schools for resources in Philadelphia. Health care costs take up another $117 million every year.

Finally, there’s the teachers’ pension fund. It takes another big bite out of the budget.