Education Voters of PA’s Statement on HB 1801, the Supplemental Appropriation Bill

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For Immediate Release

3/16/2016

Education Voters of PA’s Statement on HB 1801

Susan Spicka, Director of Education Voters of PA, made the following statement about HB 1801,

“We are disappointed that Republican leadership is moving yet another irresponsible, unbalanced budget that contains wholly inadequate funding for schools. HB 1801 will not allow schools to begin to heal from the damage caused by years of underfunding and inequitable distribution of state dollars; instead this budget proposes once again to shift the cost of paying for schools onto local taxpayers and will result in the loss of more vital programs and services in our children’s schools.

“Because lawmakers chose not to reimburse school districts for the extraordinary interest payments and fees they have been incurring as a result of the budget impasse, more than 25% of the very modest $200 million increase in Basic Education Funding in this budget will be sent to banks instead of children’s classrooms.

“The budget significantly reduces grant funding for college students,  underfunds medical assistance and corrections costs by $110 million, and creates a structural deficit of $1.6 billion in the ’16-’17 budget.

“In addition, Republican leadership has also proposed a separate fiscal code bill that would add to the Commonwealth’s debt significantly by floating $2.5 billion in bond debt in order to have enough money to provide school districts with promised reimbursements for their construction projects.

“It is deeply troubling that so many lawmakers in Harrisburg continue to shirk their fundamental responsibility of ensuring that there is sufficient revenue in the budget to pay for the investments that we need them to make in the Commonwealth.

“It is deeply troubling that so many lawmakers in Harrisburg continue to defend Pennsylvania’s appalling state funding system for schools that that systematically underfunds and hurts vulnerable students and communities the most.

“We don’t need another irresponsible, unbalanced budget that increases the state debt. We need lawmakers to support new revenues in the budget and make an investment of $600 million new dollars in Basic Education Funding over the ’15-’16 and ‘16’-’17 budgets. They must address both Pennsylvania’s shamefully inequitable and underfunded education system and the Commonwealth’s massive structural deficit that will reach at least $1.6 billion next year.

“As long as lawmakers lack the courage to make tough decisions and refuse to pass a responsible budget that contains adequate and recurring revenue, it is Pennsylvania’s children who will pay a steep price, as their schools will continue to struggle and be forced to cut programs, services, and opportunities.”

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Education Voters of PA is a non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to making schools more accessible and equitable and ensuring that there are fair opportunities to learn for all students.