FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Susan Spicka
HARRISBURG, PA (Feb. 8, 2022) – Following Governor Tom Wolf’s 2022-23 Executive Budget Address Susan Spicka, executive director of Education Voters of PA, issued the following statement:
“Education Voters of Pennsylvania most enthusiastically supports Governor Wolf’s historic budget proposal for education, which demonstrates his strong commitment to giving all children in the commonwealth a shot at a bright future in their K-12 schools and after graduation.
“For nearly three months, heartbreaking testimony in Pennsylvania’s school funding lawsuit has laid bare the harm that the commonwealth’s current school funding system inflicts upon students in districts that have been chronically and grossly underfunded by the state.
“The $1.5 billion in K-12 Basic Education Funding and $200 million in special education funding in Governor Wolf’s proposed budget will take a big bite out of the $4.6 billion adequacy gap that leaves students throughout the commonwealth without the resources they need to succeed in their schools. Governor Wolf wisely invested in Level Up to accelerate $300 million in Basic Education Funding to the commonwealth’s 100 poorest districts, driving substantial resources into schools where students have been disproportionately harmed by the current funding system.
“We strongly urge the legislature to enact Gov. Wolf’s proposed charter school reforms to reduce overpayments to charter and cyber charter schools – saving taxpayers nearly $375 million. Home and business owners across Pennsylvania are cheering today, because – if enacted – this reform will reduce pressure on school districts to raise their property taxes as the only way to pay charter school tuition bills.
“Finally, we applaud Governor Wolf’s commitment to improving college access and affordability through $200 million in Nellie Bly scholarships for State System and community college students and a substantial, recurring, investment in our public universities. This funding will take a step toward lifting Pennsylvania out of a disgraceful 49th place ranking in the nation for support of higher education and will help put the dream of higher education back within the reach of children from working families who will become our future teachers, nurses and other professionals that support a thriving commonwealth.
State lawmakers need to get on board with this budget and approve it without any cuts. Harrisburg is flush with cash –the state’s budget surplus is expected to reach nearly $12 billion by the end of June. There is no excuse for not approving these critical investments in our children and in the future of the Commonwealth.
Education Voters of PA is a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan policy and advocacy organization that supports quality public education in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.