April 5, 2012

PSEA President supports Senate Democrat budget alternative

Bank1Ending a corporate tax break and restoring a successful education program can begin to reverse Gov. Tom Corbett’s unprecedented funding cuts to Pennsylvania’s public schools.

PSEA President Mike Crossey commended the state budget alternative released April 3 by Senate Democrats and described their plan as an important step in the right direction.

“Our students are feeling the consequences and Pennsylvania’s public schools are in crisis because of nearly $1 billion in cuts,” Crossey said. “Someone needs to have the courage to stand up for our students and propose better alternatives.”

Crossey said the Senate Democrats’ proposal rejects some of Gov. Corbett’s most painful budget recommendations. It would restore $100 million in cuts to the Accountability Block Grant program and discard the governor’s proposal to collapse four existing school funding programs that work into one program that doesn’t.

“There is nearly a decade of evidence to prove that the Accountability Block Grant program works for students. That is why legislators on both sides of the aisle have continued to champion it,” Crossey said. “The governor would trade a program that we know works for one that we know won’t work. This plan refuses to make that trade.”

Gov. Corbett’s block grant proposal creates a single line item in the state budget by lumping together line items designed to cover costs districts must pay, such as employees’ Social Security and pupil transportation, and shifts away from a formula based upon students’ actual needs.

"The governor claims his plan gives schools more flexibility, but the only real flexibility would be where and how to make even more cuts that harm students,” Crossey said.

Crossey pointed out that the need to restore state funding cuts to the public schools is urgent. “Sounding The Alarm,” a recent PSEA study, shows that a combination of nearly $1 billion in cuts and a toxic mixture of bad state education laws is forcing dramatic cuts to student programs and pushing a growing number of school districts to the financial brink.

Find the report at www.psea.org/soundingthealarm.

The Senate Democrats’ budget alternative also demonstrates that there are untapped state revenues that can be used to invest in the public schools. Their plan to eliminate the Delaware loophole, which allows Pennsylvania companies to avoid paying state taxes by incorporating in Delaware, would generate $550 million which could be used to restore programs that work for students.

“The choice is clear. The Senate Democrats’ budget proposal invests in Pennsylvania’s students and the governor’s doesn’t,” Crossey said. “It is time for us to stop cutting education funding and start making responsible choices for Pennsylvania’s students.

“Our students need this kind of leadership and vision. If we don’t provide it, they are the ones who will suffer for it.” 

Learn more and speak up for public schools at www.psea.org/schoolfunding.



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