Now What?

Governor Wolf line-item vetoed the budget that state lawmakers sent him before leaving for their holiday break, authorizing emergency funding to go out to school districts, human service agencies and counties, which had been held up by the House leaders failing to compromise on a total budget deal. This action functions as a placeholder, a partial budget, while the rest of the budget, the revenue and the rules for spending are worked out. It gets some money flowing: public schools will receive much needed, short-term emergency funding to keep their doors open and their lights on. 

However, the proposed budget lawmakers passed before going home for their holiday break is wholly inadequate and unacceptable as a long-term solution to the funding problems facing our public schools. 

Nothing has really changed: we still need a budget that increases education funding, that fixes the inequitable base funding and that uses a formula to drive out increases. To make progress on that goal, this year’s budget must contain a $350M increase for Basic Education Funding and $50M for Special Education. Still.After all of the pain that this impasse has caused, Pennsylvanian’s public school children deserve a budget that is worth the wait.

Unfortunately, House leaders have said they are taking this week off. Lawmakers should return to Harrisburg now, stop playing partisan political games, and work on a real budget that places the needs of students first and invests in the future of the Commonwealth.

The bright spot in all of this has been public advocacy: people speaking up and demanding that Pennsylvania’s budget not be the lowest common denominator, safe for politicians, but not good for PA.

We have made much progress this year . Our work has been critical to calling out the inherent unfairness of PA’s inequitable system and to demanding that more lawmakers stand up for kids. Our work has been essential to getting a proposed funding formula on the table, to seeing a substantial proposed increase for education, to stopping some crazy “reform” proposals.

Would you make a donation to Education Voters of PA to help us keep this important work going strong? Just $50 helps us cover the cost of advocacy materials for one community meeting, and $30 helps us cover the cost of our action alert system for a day. Help us reach more communities, train more citizen leaders, keep the heat on more policymakers and by doing so, continue the quest to see that all of our children get the education they deserve?

Thank you for your support of public education. We wish you a very happy New Year!