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Friday, March 11, 2011

Budgeting away our children’s future

 Gov. Tom Corbett addressed a joint session of the General Assembly this week to outline his proposal for next year’s budget, which includes $1 billion in cuts to the basic education subsidy.  The Governor’s budget also cuts state funding for higher education by a staggering 50 percent!  With the battle lines now clearly drawn, we now anticipate a heated debate in the state legislature.
Your state senators and representatives need to hear from you TODAY!  

Tell them that they must protect the significant improvements we’ve made in public education and not allow us to lose the ground we’ve fought so hard to gain.  Pennsylvania has made incredible progress in student achievement in recent years, posting significant gains across grades and subjects. That progress is directly tied to the targeted investments we’ve made.  It’s not just our kids’ future for our kids that is at stake now. The future of the entire Commonwealth --- our economic prosperity and the quality of life in our communities --- is all on the line, and quality public education is so critical to both. 

Across the Commonwealth,  Pennsylvanians agree that we must make public education a priority, even during tough economic times. Options to increase revenue must be explored.  Harrisburg’s failure to levy commonsense taxes on natural gas drilling, smokeless tobacco and cigars, and refusal to end excessive corporate tax breaks and loopholes has left hundreds of millions of dollar on the table.  We can’t afford to sacrifice our future for the benefit of special interests.   Support for kids, support for education is a bi-partisan issues.  As voters, we don’t care what color our legislator’s bumper sticker is; we just care if they do a good job at protecting our communities, our kids and the future.

We need the actions of our lawmakers to reflect the values of the people they represent, so make your voice heard and click here to send a letter today!

More details on the budget:
School districts would lose more than $1 billion of state and federal stimulus funding.
  • Basic Education Subsidy reduced by $550 million.
  • Accountability Block Grants are eliminated, a loss of $259.456 million.  Much of this was used by districts to support early education.
  • Charter school reimbursement to districts is eliminated, a loss of $224.083 million.  These payments reimbursed school districts for about 25% of their charter school costs; helping to offset fixed costs that districts still incur when a student leaves and the district makes a payment for them.
  • Special Education would be flat-funded for the 3rd consecutive year at ($1.026 billion).
  • Career and Technical Education was level funded at $62 million.
  • Other cuts to school districts amount to more than $50 million.
These other basic education items are eliminated entirely:
  • Basic Education Formula Enhancements ($1.984 million)
  • Dual Enrollment Payments ($6.959 million)
  • School Improvement Grants ($10.797 million)
  • Education Assistance Program ($47.606 million)
  • Science It’s Elementary ($6.910 million)
  • Mobile Science Education Program ($1.6 million) 
  • Intermediate Units ($4.761 million)
  • School Entity Demonstration Projects ($600 thousand)
  • High School Reform ($1.762 million)
  • Lifelong Learning ($825 thousand)
  • Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic ($69 thousand)
  • Job Training Programs ($3.442 million)

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