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Monday, February 4, 2013

What will Gov. Corbett propose for schools in 2013?

Tomorrow, the debate over the priorities of our state budget will begin in earnest with the release of Governor Corbett’s budget proposal. Public education is going to be a very hot topic this year.  Each year, the Governor’s budget proposal sets up the conversation that will continue as negotiations move forward through the spring.  We will be following up after the Governor’s address with more information about the implications for schools and potential impacts on students – so we can all band together to speak up for the Pennsylvania we want to live in! 

- Gov. Corbett has led the effort to cut nearly $2 billion in investments over two years in the education of our children, causing program cuts, increases in class sizes and reductions in services like tutoring, library access and more!

- Along with the loss of dollars, we have lost significant ground on fixing a broken system for how schools are funded.  Nearly all of the progress that was made to try to fix it has been lost.  There are still terrible disparities from one community to the next and an over-reliance on property taxes.

- It looks like Gov. Corbett is feeling the heat – early reports suggest he is going to propose something to restore a portion of the funding – which he himself has cut -- because there has been a lot of voter anger for how extreme the cuts have been. BUT – if you take money from someone you are no hero for giving some of it back.

- We’ll be watching to make sure that restoring funding and making investments in education are not conditioned on any political deal!  Pennsylvania’s children did not make the risky decision to suspend pension payments and their future shouldn’t be dependent on how we manage our liquor stores.  Paying the state obligation for pensions has nothing to do with whether or not we support high quality education.  

Starting tomorrow, we’ll be kicking off our spring campaign asking the legislature to properly support schools and permanently adopt a sensible approach to funding our schools: one that looks at what it costs to meet today’s learning standards; one that uses a fiscally responsible formula-based approach to stop the ridiculous over-reliance on property taxes and one that meets our Constitutional mandate to adequately support our schools.

Each of us has a vital role to play this year in helping make sure that we get public education back on track, and we need to be ready to rise to the occasion!  Thank you so much for your continued involvement in support of good public education and a strong year of working together for an opportunity to learn for every child and for good schools in every community. Stay tuned!

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