Sen. Vincent J. Fumo

District Office

1208 Tasker Street
Phila, PA 19148

Harrisburg Office

545 Main Capitol
Hbg, PA 17120



_____________________NEWS RELEASE

State Senator

1st Senatorial District
Democratic Appropriations Committee Chairman
Room 545 Main Capitol, Harrisburg PA 17120
Internet Website:


PHONE: 717-787-5662 


     PHILADELPHIA, October 31, 2006 – The Philadelphia School District will receive $5 million annually from the city’s share of slot machine gambling revenue, under a provision that state Sen. Vince Fumo (D-Philadelphia) included in gambling reform legislation recently approved in Harrisburg.

     The district will use the money for classroom modernization initiatives.

     Fumo announced the annual grant today, along with school district CEO Paul Vallas, in the computer lab at the Abigail Vare School on E. Moyamensing Ave.

     “In the ever-more complicated technical world in which we live, students must be prepared to use all of the modern tools at our disposal. Society now functions primarily through an information economy, and when students step out into the adult world, or even into the world of higher education, they have to be familiar with state-of-the-art technology if they are to have any hope of succeeding,” Fumo said.

     “The equipment in the classrooms must be up to date, and the school buildings themselves must be places that are conducive to high academic achievement. No matter what is going on around them, no matter the particular conditions of the neighborhoods in which they rest, schools must be havens of modern learning,” he added.

     Under the original gambling law enacted in 2004, which Fumo had a major hand in writing, cities and counties where slot machines are located will receive a combined four percent of the gross terminal revenue generated by the casinos within their jurisdiction. In Philadelphia’s case, that should be about $24 million per year once the two casinos in the city are fully operational.

     Recognizing that Philadelphia public school education has improved under Vallas, but also convinced of the need to upgrade equipment and facilities, Fumo spearheaded an effort to add a provision to Senate Bill 862 that would direct the first $5 million of the city’s gambling revenue each year to the schools for modernization. The clause was contained in the bill when the legislature passed it on October 27.
     “We are delighted to be recipients of such significant funding that will aid us in our mission to expand our classroom modernization initiatives, “said School Reform Commission Chairman James Nevels. “Senator Fumo is indeed a friend of children and public education in the City of Philadelphia and we extend our sincere appreciation.”

     Fumo said the district should be able to leverage the $5 million annual sum to obtain as much as $70 million for projects in the near term.
     Initial Philadelphia School District classroom reforms developed a standardized curriculum and managed instructional system . To maximize the benefit of those reforms, the district wants to provide all students in 5,000 6-12 grade classrooms a fully integrated 21st Century Digital Classroom by 2008.

    Each modernized classroom will include:

Wireless internet access
Laptop computers for each of the students
Wall mounted interactive smart boards
Ceiling mounted digital projector
Printer and workstation areas tied to the Local Area Network
Modular furniture for flexible instruction
Enhanced lighting
Electrical upgrades

     “Thanks to Senator Fumo, our goal to equip every classroom within the School District of Philadelphia with technological advancements, along with educational supports can now be fully realized,” said Vallas.

     Fumo noted that this is one of several benefits that gambling will bring to the residents of Philadelphia. In addition to the local share – now $5 million for the school district and $19 million for the city budget – Philadelphia residents will see their taxes cut by approximately $140 million per year once gambling is fully implemented statewide. Gambling revenue will be used to reduce the wage tax for workers and property taxes for many senior citizens.

     Fumo also hears from many Philadelphians who say they are anxious to be able to play slots at the convenient local casinos, rather than travel to Atlantic City.

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