Budgets are about priorities and we are very encouraged that making progress on fixing Pennsylvania’s inequitable and inadequate state funding system remains a top priority for Governor Wolf, in spite of the stiff resistance he has met from many lawmakers in Harrisburg.
Governor Wolf remains firm in his commitment to a 2015-2016 compromise budget that contains a new investment of $377 million in Basic Education Funding, $50 million in special education, and $60 million in Pre-K/Head Start funding.
For the 2016-2017 budget the governor is proposing an additional investment of $200 million in Basic Education Funding, $50 million for special education, $28 million for career and technical education, and $60 million for Pre-K/Head Start.
The new investments in education that Governor Wolf has proposed would both help reduce pressure on local property taxes and begin to take steps toward ensuring that educational opportunities are available and fair across all of Pennsylvania’s 499 school districts. These investments are critical, necessary, and will make a positive difference for today’s students.
In his budget address, Governor Wolf also delivered the sobering news that the Commonwealth faces a $319 million structural deficit in the 2015-2016 budget that will mushroom to $1.8 billion in it the 2016-2017 budget.
Without new, recurring revenue in the budget, Pennsylvania will not move forward and thrive, but instead will continue to limp along. Without new, recurring revenue in the budget, Pennsylvania’s school children will pay a steep price, as their schools will continue to struggle and many will be forced to cut programs, services, and opportunities.
Click HERE to contact your state lawmakers to tell them to put politics aside and do their jobs by supporting our children and passing a budget that is balanced and contains a significant investment in our children.
What needs to happen now?
Lawmakers who claim to support our children and their schools must also be willing to support new revenues that will pay for additional investments in education.
It is critical that lawmakers hear from us now and until they pass compromise ’15-’16 budget that contains a $377 million increase in Basic Education Funding.
The core responsibility of our state government is to make certain that there is sufficient revenue to support strong communities in every corner of the state. This includes making sure that there is enough state funding both to balance the budget and to ensure that all children in the Commonwealth have a chance to get a decent education so that they can live productive lives after they graduate.
We elect lawmakers to find solutions to problems and to do the difficult job of governing. Lawmakers who fail or refuse to find a way to pay for the state’s obligations, and instead choose to leave the Commonwealth and our schools in a state of fiscal precariousness are, very simply, shirking their duties.
Thank you for your continued support of public education. Next week please keep a lookout for an email from us with a survey. We’d like to learn more about what matters to you, what you want Pennsylvania’s schools to be for our children, and how we can best work together to support great public schools in every community in PA.