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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

General Assembly Passes Budget Where Children are the Biggest Losers



K-12 Public Education


Charter School Reimbursement


Accountability Block Grant


Pre-K Counts


Head Start


State-Related Universities


PASSHE Universities


On June 30th, the PA General Assembly passed a budget that included $927.7 million in funding cuts to public education. These historic cuts were made despite having $700 million more than expected in revenue collections (we collected more than the budget assumed we would, which means we have $700 million more on the income side that could have been used to reduce harmful cuts). This will result in increased property taxes and a reduction or elimination of programs that have proven to be successful in increasing student achievement. There was a 3% decrease in funding for both Head Start and Pre-K Counts, over $150 million cut in Accountability Block Grants, used for programs such as full-day kindergarten, summer classes and tutoring and the elimination of a fund used to help districts offset the costs they have related to charter schools. Schools are increasing class size, cutting programs like music and athletics, laying off teachers (aka your friends and neighbors – and the people we depend on to care for our children). The victims of this budget are students across the commonwealth.

Politicians in Harrisburg want to be able to take credit for cutting spending, even if the cuts are irresponsible and bad for Pennsylvanians! They are hoping you won’t notice that. They seem to be forgetting that the job is really about making sure we build strong communities – which we attract jobs, that our children have a good future and that our communities are safe. Their job is to make decisions about spending our money well – not just running a political agenda so they can pretend they accomplished something when, in fact, they did worse than nothing.

Where do we go from here?

This budget is the wrong direction for Pennsylvania and does not represent our values Public education is central to our well being as communities and our economy, and is being undermined – and even attacked m-- on all sides: there were devastating level of cuts and the cuts were distributed in an unfair, political ways instead of using a fair formula, low-income communities had the HIGHEST levels of cuts and members of our legislature are promoting an agenda to use tax dollars to pay tuition for some kids to attend private school rather than investing in education and opportunity for all.

We must start working NOW to prepare for next year, but we need your help! Check below for ways to help “spread the word.” Together we can and will hold our legislators responsible for the decisions they make in Harrisburg. Over the next few months, we’ll help keep you up to date on what our elected officials are doing for (or to) education.

Lastly, take a sneak preview of our new survey! We want to understand more about what “education voters” want to know. Participate in our sneak preview, answer the questions and suggest any other questions you feel are important for EVPA to ask our membership!

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