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Monday, June 4, 2012

Budget Priorities

Budgets are about priorities. When families across the state determine their budgets, they determine what items are more important than others. The Governor has shown us with this year’s budget and his proposal for next year’s budget that public education is not a priority for him. As a final budget is hashed out this month, Governor Corbett is trying to negotiate a tax bill that will give Shell a $67 million annual tax credit for 25 years, starting in 2017, which is close to $1.7 billion in tax credits. I wonder what Governor Corbett’s priorities are?

This month, the General Assembly will determine what their priorities are and we must make sure they know what ours are. This week, House members will begin to consider the Senate’s budget proposal and start forming their own proposal to introduce. The Senate’s proposal was a good step in the right direction, but we must urge the House to do more.

Recently, there have been new projections from the Independent Fiscal Office indicating that the state’s revenue situation is improving at a significantly higher rate than expected. We urge the State House build on the Senate’s proposal and restore additional funding to education.

We suggest the following actions:

  • Add at least $50 million for charter school reimbursement support to school districts to begin to restore the cut of $223 million made last summer.
  • Re-structure the charter school formula to reimburse the charter schools for appropriate cost per pupil (approx. $100 million dollars would be available)
  • Provide at least a cost-of-living increase to the Basic Subsidy and Special Education line items, which will help to mitigate the seriously negative effects of last summer’s huge cut in state funding for school districts.
  • Support Rep. Murt’s amendment (A10902) to restore funding to Keystone STARs and keep the door open for early learning.

CLICK HERE to urge your representative to invest in our future by investing in public education.

SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDING

Up for a vote today is SB 115, a bill that will provide equality and accountability to how the state funds special education. Currently, the funding system for special education is broken, and students with the most needs are being impacted. The bill passed the Senate Appropriates Committee last week and goes to the Senate for a vote TODAY. CLICK HERE to urge your Senator to vote this important bill.

Our legislators need to hear from you now. Please take a few minutes today to contact them.

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