For Immediate Release
Education Voters of PA
Media contacts: Susan Spicka
(HARRISBURG) February 6, 2018 – Susan Spicka, Executive Director of Education Voters of PA, made the following statement about Governor Wolf’s 2018-2019 budget proposal:
Budgets are about priorities and we are encouraged that investing in the education of PA’s public school students remains a top priority for Governor Wolf. We hope that state lawmakers will support these critical investments in our children and the new revenues that will be required to pay for them.
PA has the most inequitable school funding system in the nation because our state government simply does not pay its fair share. PA provides just 37% of K-12 funding to school districts; the national average is 47%. As a result, local taxpayers do the heavy lifting of funding their children’s public schools through property taxes. In low-wealth rural, urban, and suburban communities throughout Pennsylvania, local taxpayers- cannot raise the resources necessary to provide their children with the educational opportunities they need to reach their potential in school and after graduation.
Governor Wolf’s proposed increases of $100 million in Basic Education Funding and $20 million in Special Education Funding will provide school districts throughout Pennsylvania with desperately needed additional state funding. However, given the state’s extraordinarily inadequate contribution to K-12 school funding, we recognize that the state must make a significantly larger investment in our children’s schools in order to adequately prepare all students for a bright future after graduation.
Governor Wolf’s proposed $10 million increase for Career and Technical Education programs is also welcome. Austere state budgets have flat funded Career and Technical Education many years. Gov. Wolf’s proposed additional $10 million investment will allow CTE schools to provide more students with opportunities that will allow them to enter the workforce after graduation prepared to fill in-demand positions that pay family-sustaining wages.
Finally, expanding pre-K opportunities through Gov. Wolf’s proposed $40 million increase in early learning programs will allow thousands of young learners to enroll in pre-K programs and put them on the road to academic success.
In order to pay for these new and critical investments in education, the legislature is going to need to raise new revenues. Education Voters of PA most strongly supports Governor Wolf’s proposal to enact a severance tax on natural gas drillers. It is time for gas drillers to pay their fair share and contribute to building a brighter future for our children.