(Jul 15) Gov. Tom Wolf: Good news from Harrisburg, The timely passage of a strong budget bodes well for Pa.

by Governor Tom Wolf
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

After months of negotiations and compromise, Pennsylvania has secured a 2016-2017 state budget that increases funding for schools, devotes resources to battle the opioid-abuse epidemic and reduces the deficit. As has been said by Republicans and Democrats alike, this is a budget Pennsylvania can be proud of, and it puts us on a path to fiscal responsibility and a sustainable future.

Funding our schools has always been a top priority for me. This budget provides an additional $200 million in basic education funding, a $30 million increase for early childhood education, a $20 million increase for special education, a $10 million increase for early intervention and a nearly $40 million increase for higher education. As a result, historic increases in education funding have been enacted in less than two years — a total of $415 million in basic funding alone.

The Pittsburgh Public Schools this year will receive an additional $3 million in classroom funding and more than $263,000 in increased funding for special education, raising the two-year total to $6.7 million.

In addition to increasing education funding by more than a half-billion dollars, Pennsylvania also has enacted a fair-funding formula that takes into account each school district’s unique needs. Despite this progress in more fully and fairly funding education, however, we still need to invest more in coming years to restore the devastating cuts of the previous administration that resulted in larger class sizes, the elimination of important programs, massive teacher layoffs and skyrocketing property taxes.

Full story: Good news from Harrisburg: The timely passage of a strong budget bodes well for Pa., Governor Tom Wolf, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 07/15/16

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