Pennsylvania Education Experts Dissect Corbett’s Proposed Schools Budget

The Education Policy and Leadership Center today held a forum to help school leaders understand Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed education budget that was released last week.

The center’s president, Ron Cowell, said the governor’s proposal calls for adding $90 million to the basic education subsidy but still would provide nearly $800 million less than in September 2010, when federal economic stimulus money was available.

He said the proposed budget also is short more than $100 million of the amount required by law to fund school employee pensions. The governor plans to save money by, among other things, reducing benefits earned by current employees in the future, a move expected to provoke a teacher union lawsuit.

A proposed Passport for Learning block grant, which would not take effect until 2014-15, is dependent on the sale of state liquor stores.

“There are so many ifs here,” Mr. Cowell said.

Sharon Ward, executive director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, called the revenue sources in the proposed budget a “house of cards.”

She noted it contains tax breaks for businesses rather than larger increases for education and some social programs.

Click here to read the full article by Eleanor Chute published in the Pittsburgh Post- Gazette (February 14, 2013).

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