Gov. Edward Rendell last week announced that Budget Secretary Michael Masch will be leaving his post in the administration to become chief business officer for the Philadelphia School District.

Masch will continue in his current position through the end of June, with a new budget secretary to begin “sometime thereafter,” Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo said. The governor is currently searching for a replacement.

Rendell and Masch have worked together for a number of years. In 2003, Masch took on the job of budget secretary when the governor took office and from 1992 to 1996 Masch served as budget director for Philadelphia when Rendell was mayor of the city. In a press release, Rendell praised Masch’s accomplishments.

“The fact that the commonwealth is one of few states running a budget surplus while other states are grappling with billion-dollar deficits is a tribute to his wise stewardship,” Rendell said. “And, unlike almost any other state, due to Mike’s creativity and discipline we have driven down the cost of operating the government by more than $1.5 billion, with most of these savings coming from groundbreaking new ways to manage our Medicaid and related welfare resources.”

Lawmakers are currently working on a $28.3 billion fiscal 2009 budget that the governor submitted in early February. That proposed fiscal plan is 4.2% greater than the current budget and includes $291.3 million more for education while decreasing other programs through overall spending reductions of 2.1%.

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