Updated with reactions
Gov. Tom Corbett gave his budget address to the Pennsylvania legislature today. According to the Inquirer, proposed changes to public education funding could result in a $21.6 million decrease in funding for the Philadelphia public schools, although the District would not confirm a number.
Overall, the proposed budget includes about the same amount for basic education. But he combined several line items, including the Accountability Block Grants, into a new funding stream he is calling Student Achievement Education Block Grant, resulting in a net loss of $94 million statewide. This is where Philadelphia would lose out.
Last year, Corbett proposed a 10 percent cut to the basic education subsidy, among other cuts to public education. Many districts, including Chester Upland and Philadelphia, continue to struggle to balance budgets for this fiscal year.
Pedro Ramos, chair of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission: "The District appreciates the Governor's effort to spare basic education from the difficult cuts proposed to balance the Commonwealth's FY 2013 budget, as well as the Administration's efforts to increase flexibility in the use of funds and the proposed initiatives to fund accountability systems and increased funding to improve student data collection. As the financial circumstances of the Commonwealth improve, we hope to also engage in discussions about early childhood education, charter school funding, and other priority areas."
Susan Gobreski, Education Voters PA: “There was one right thing to do for public education in this year’s budget and that was to restore the funds that were cut from our students and our communities last year and it didn’t happen. They said we were forced to make cuts last year because of tough times – if that were true, we would be getting back on track with both the funding formula and funding levels this year. The cuts to early education are disturbing and the cuts to higher education are shocking. This is ideological. I really have to question a Governor’s priorities if he isn’t willing to take care of children and provide an opportunity for them to learn, as well as think long term and help prepare our workforce for tomorrow."
Pedro Rivera, superintendent of the Lancaster School District and president of the Pennsylvania League of Urban Schools: He said that the cuts will continue to fall most heavily on urban and other poor districts. “Pennsylvania’s school children, especially those from the poorest communities, rely heavily on the state’s contribution for their opportunity to have a good education. We are very disappointed that this governor continues to shortchange our most vulnerable kids.”
Ron Cowell of the Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign: “Pennsylvanians do not support the major education cuts made this past year and believe that state government has a responsibility to assure quality learning opportunities for all students...If the budget is approved as proposed by the Governor, the devastating effects of the recent budget will continue, local taxpayers will be asked to shoulder more school funding responsibility, and our children will have fewer learning opportunities.
Ted Kirsch, president of the Pennsylvania Federal of Teachers: "The governor is continuing down the ill-advised budget path he charted last year that pushes more and more of the costs of our public schools onto the backs of local taxpayers. Across the Commonwealth, these policies are bankrupting school districts and denying our children the educational opportunities they deserve."
Joan Benso, president of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children: "On the whole, the governor’s budget priorities fail to show adequate commitment to the well-being of Pennsylvania’s children, and his short-term attempts to cut costs will cause long-term setbacks to the commonwealth’s efforts to build a competitive workforce." She pointed out that the budget cuts early childhood education and will likely result in some districts abandoning full-day kindergarten.