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June 30: Rendell not budging on funding boost

By Paul Socolar on Jun 29, 2009 11:55 PM

While it doesn't always work this way, June 30 is the day by which Pennsylvania state government is supposed to adopt a budget. From this budget, school districts finally learn with certainty how much state aid will be available to them.

This year, Philadelphia has hopes of a massive $300 million infusion of new state funds for schools ... in large part courtesy of federal stimulus dollars. But news reports from Harrisburg indicate no end in sight to the legislative wrangling over the budget, which means continued uncertainty for any district that is counting on a funding increase.

Governor Rendell appears to be keeping public education funding at the top of his priority list in the political maneuvering with the Republican-led Senate. Last week, following up on proposals for a tax increase, he offered cuts totaling $500 million to his original budget plan, in response to reports that the state's deficit had grown to $3.2 billion. While many areas, including higher ed, are hard-hit, funding for K-12 is largely spared in the governor's latest proposal.

His Classrooms for the Future program may be chopped, but Rendell reiterated his big-ticket commitment to a $418 million increase in basic education funding to keep Pennsylvania on target with its six-year plan for equalizing funding among districts.  Groups like the Pennsylvania School Funding campaign have been pushing this approach, and published this action alert today.

Republicans have argued that education funding should not get a boost this year and want to use the stimulus dollars to allow the state to spend that much less of its own revenues.

Rendell earlier got some support in his budget battle from the Obama administration when Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sent a warning letter to Pennsylvania that the feds will be looking at how states use the stimulus money and states that are putting education funds to good use will stand a better chance of qualifying for a forthcoming $5 billion pot of "Race to the Top" funding.

Follow developments with the budget here on the Notebook blog.

 

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Comments (1)

Submitted by Anonymous on August 13, 2009 9:35 am

THIS IS CRAZY SOMETHING NEEDS TO HAPPEN AND QUICK. THERE ARE GONNA BE MANY MORE JOBS LOST BECAUSE PEOPLE WHO WORK BUT CAN NOT AFFORD TO PAY CHILD CARE DEPEND ON CHILD CARE SERVICES LIKE MY SELF TO HELP PAY FOR CHILD CARE. DAY CARES ARE CLOSING DOWN OR WANT KIDS TO STAY HOME UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. AND IF WE WANT OUR KIDS TO STAY IN DAY CARE WE WILL HAVE TO PAY OUT OF POCKET AND THATS MONEY THAT WE DONT HAVE. I HAVE 3 KIDS AND IM IN SCHOOL AND WORK PART TIME AND AM ALSO A SINGLE MOTHER. IM IN SCHOOL TO BETTER MY LIFE AS WELL AS FOR MY KIDS SO THAT I CAN STOP DEPENDING ON THE STATE AND DO EVERYTHING ON MY OWN. BUT FOR RIGHT NOW THAT THE ONLY THING THAT CAN HELP ME AND OTHERS. SO PLEASE DONT LET THIS THING GET ANY WORSE THEN WHAT IT IS. I KNOW IT TAKES TIME BUT SOMETIMES TIME IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. STOP SPENDING MONEY ON UNNECESSARY THINGS AND SPEND IT ON MORE IMPORTANT THINGS. PLEASE PASS THAT BUDGET SO THEY CAN GET PAID AND EVERYTHING CAN GO BACK TO NORMAL AND MY KIDS CAN STAY IN DAY CARE. THANKS

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