Final Budget Agreement Near
Legislators Hearing Constituent Messages!
Republican leaders in the House and Senate and Governor Corbett have come to an agreement on the spending figure for the 2012-2013 state budget, and your messages to legislators to oppose any additional cuts to education are being hear heard.
Legislative leaders and the Governor have accepted the Senate's proposed budget number of $27.66 billion. This is good news in that it adds over $500 million more than originally proposed by the Governor and restores cuts the Governor proposed for K-12, early education, and higher education, and restores some of the cuts to valuable human services programs.
Negotiators are still working on many important details, but we know that some of the agreement includes these K-12 education budget changes from what the Governor proposed:
- $100 million restored to the Accountability Block Grant.
- $50 million added for distressed schools.
- Rejection of the Governor's proposed Education Achievement Block Grant that would have shifted important funding obligations from the state to school districts.
Companion legislation related to some budget issues also is likely to be considered early next week, and the outcome is uncertain
Legislation may be considered to limit school district costs for charter schools that can save local taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. This is important since the Legislature and Governor completely eliminated state reimbursement to school districts for any of these expenses that are costing local taxpayers nearly a billion dollars each year.
The Legislature may also consider the creation of a new non-public school scholarship fund for some students in some districts, a new "voucher-lite" that would be funded by increasing tax credits available to some business through the Educational Investment Tax Credit program While nearly 70% of Pennsylvanians are opposed to taxpayer funded private school vouchers, this proposal would further reduce state revenues through tax credits for businesses in order to fund their "contributions" to such scholarship/voucher programs. This new cost to state government would be created while the state has not restored the nearly $900 million cut for public school students this past year.
Legislators need to keeping hearing from you and other constituents about important education budget issues. Decisions are still to be made in Harrisburg, and your voice can still make a difference.
Let your House and Senate members know you:
To find your state legislators' contact information, click on the Pennsylvania General Assembly web site (http://www.legis.state.pa.us/), and follow the links under Who's My Legislator.
- Oppose all additional cuts to K-12 public education and want the Legislature to make a commitment to restore past cuts.
- Support changes to charter school funding that will save local taxpayer funds and limit school district payments for charter schools to no more than what charter schools actually spend on instructing students.
- Oppose the creation of an expanded and expensive "back-door voucher program" that ignores nearly 70% public opposition to using taxpayer funds to support private school vouchers.