May 10, 2012

A good first step: Senate budget proposal rejects Corbett "block grants" and restores some education funding

The state Senate took a first step toward addressing the school funding crisis by proposing a budget that rejects Gov. Tom Corbett's plan to "block grant" school funding and that restores $50 million to the Accountability Block Grant program, which helps pay for early childhood education.

The Senate approved its plan on May 9. It now goes to the state House, where negotiations will continue.

PSEA President Mike Crossey issued a statement on the Senate's proposal, noting that it is significantly better than Gov. Tom Corbett's.

"We need to do more to solve the funding crisis that is engulfing our schools. The Senate's budget proposal is a first step," Crossey said. "We are eager to work with members of the Senate and House to restore even more of the funding Gov. Corbett has cut from Pennsylvania's public schools and the students who learn there."

Crossey noted that the governor's "block grants" would move funding further away from school districts' real costs and students' real needs.

Gov. Corbett's "block grant" proposal would create a single line item in the FY 2012-13 state budget by lumping together line items for employee Social Security payments, school busing, non-public school busing, and classroom instruction. Social Security payments are mandated, and busing is necessary to keep students safe and attending school regularly.

"The governor's 'block grant' plan would erase decades of good policy and leave local taxpayers to cover the costs that this new system would ignore," Crossey said. "We're glad that the Senate rejected it, and we're eager to work with House members to make sure they reject it too."

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