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PA House Democrats giving up on the funding formula?

By Paul Socolar on Jul 16, 2009 11:01 PM

Reports out of Harrisburg indicate that the long-stalled negotiations over the state budget are finally heating up, with a push to resolve the stalemate by early next week. The overdue budget means state workers won't get full paychecks Friday. It's an important time to be paying attention to these legislative developments, which could impact heavily on funding for Philadelphia schools, and to be communicating with local representatives.

Advocates for funding equity are alarmed that the newest budget proposal, which comes from Democrats in the House Appropriations Committee, chaired by State Rep. Dwight Evans, calls for a $118 million reduction in basic education funding compared to Gov. Rendell's proposed budget. 

"The Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign today urged lawmakers to appropriate the full $418 million increase needed to keep the state on schedule to implement its new school funding formula within six years," said a campaign release issued Wednesday. Philadelphia and other historically underfunded districts are in line for large annual aid increases under the state's adequacy formula endorsed by the legislature last summer.

A significant shortfall in basic education funding relative to that formula would hit Philadelphia and other needy districts harder than most and would force a scaling back of planned initiatives in Superintendent Ackerman's Imagine 2014 plan

The House Democratic budget plan is by no means the stingiest of the proposals under consideration. In the face of a $3.2 billion deficit, Senate Republicans adopted a budget, Senate Bill 850, freezing basic education funding at current levels and using federal stimulus dollars to supplant and free up state funds. Gov. Rendell has called cuts in the Senate budget draconian and proposed a variety of tax increases to avoid such deep cuts. He has not won over the legislature to his proposal for a temporary 16% increase in the state income tax.

On a related front, a push by education advocates in Philadelphia and across the state is for Harrisburg to finally tackle the problem of inadequate funding for special education. House Bill 704 won bipartisan support in the House Education Committee, and there are hopes that these reforms will be adopted along with the state budget.

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Comments (2)

Submitted by Paul Socolar on July 17, 2009 3:29 pm

Here's what PCCY is saying today about the budget impasse:

Things in Harrisburg have gone from bad to worse. Without YOUR help Pennsylvania schools will be forced to cut programs, increase class size and lay-off teachers. Legislative action is expected this weekend!
Please call the SOUTHEAST PENNSYLVANIA SENATORS, (listed below)
in Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Bucks Counties today and this weekend!

July 17, 2009

The House of Representatives will vote on a budget today (Friday) that provides some additional support for basic education but fails to fully fund the second year of the basic education funding formula.  The Senate may vote on this revised budget over the weekend. Advocates expect them to slash support for basic education as they did in their original budget. 
SO PLEASE CALL. Email your Senator. Or forward this email to your friends, colleagues, fellow-parents and others in Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Bucks County who care about public schools.  They should urge their legislator to support full-funding for the basic education formula!
Sen. Andrew Dinniman,Chester and Montgomery Counties,
Harrisburg office: (717) 787-5709,
West Chester office: (610)-692-2112h
Sen. Edwin Erickson, Delaware and  Chester Counties,
Harrisburg office:  (717) 787-1350 or toll free: 800-364-1581
Drexel Hill office: (610) 853-4100 or toll free: 866-853-4102
Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, Bucks and  Montgomery Counties,
Harrisburg office: (717) 787-6599,
Willow Grove office:
(215) 657-7700  or toll free: 800-924-3300 

Sen. Dominic Pileggi, Chester and Delaware Counties,
Harrisburg office: (717) 787-4712,
Glen Mills office: (
610) 358-5183
Baltimore Pike office in West Grove: (610) 345-1084
Chester office: (610) 447-5845

Sen. John Rafferty Jr., Chester and Montgomery Counties,
Harrisburg office: (717) 787-1398,
Pottstown office (Chester Co.) (610) 469-8390
Collegeville office (MontCo) (610) 831-8830

Sen. Robert Tomlinson, Bucks County,
Harrisburg office: (717) 787-5072,
Levittown office: ( 215) 945-2800
Richboro office: (215) 942-5157
Bensalem\ office ( 215) 638-1784

Sen. Robert Wonderling, Bucks, County,
Harrisburg office:717-787-3110,
Office in Quakertown: Bucks County (215) 529-1215
Office in Lansdale (Montgomery County) (215) 368-1500



Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2009 2:42 pm

I believe this stalemate that is going on amongst the politicians are putting the same citizens who voted these individuals into office life in a crisis. They need to understand that this is not about their egos; this is about real human beings lives. My sister works for the State and she will be one of the employees affected by this no pay check bull crap. Just like her, many others have a mortgage, car payment, and they are living from paycheck to paycheck. Further, I bet that none of these politicians, including Governor Rendell would be missing a paycheck.

Moreover, the issue with the Education Programs and teachers being cut. This is an outrage for the Public School system of which they do not have much as it is for our children. There has been many of cuts the point that our children do not have their own books in their classrooms. The teachers are under-qualified and do not have our children's best interests on the top of the list.

Just like many, I am pleading with the House & the Senate to come with a budget proposal that would be beneficials to the citizens of Pennsylvania and will not have us in crisis in the next three years.

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