Pension Crisis Drains Philadelphia Schools of Cash

It doesn't get better from here


HARRISBURG — As the Philadelphia School District scrambles to come up with enough cash to open for students in September, a new report suggests the city's school funding crisis is on par with municipal issues in Detroit, Chicago and elsewhere.

At the heart of it all: pensions.

Payments to retired teachers and public employees are a growing threat to government budgets everywhere, and it is no different in Philadelphia. A new report from the Thomas Fordham Institute, a conservative education nonprofit, estimates the district's total retirement costs will balloon from $73 million in 2011 to $349 million by 2020.