Key Issue: School Funding


On Feb. 4, Gov. Tom Corbett presented another state budget full of election year gimmicks and false choices, putting wealthy corporations ahead of public schools and middle-class families.

Gov. Corbett's plan does include some additional funding for schools - but all of the new funding comes with strings attached - strings that won't help districts to fix the problems created by the governor's nearly $1 billion in school funding cuts in 2011.

Instead of reversing funding cuts in the state's basic education subsidy, the governor's plan proposes $241 million in a new block grant program for use on a short list of state-prescribed initiatives. 

School districts will have to apply to receive block grant funding, and must meet strict criteria for how they can spend it. Instead of deciding how best to meet the needs of students, districts will be forced to spend the money on programs chosen by the Corbett administration.

Districts will not be permitted to use block grants to restore art, music, foreign language, physical education, and other programs that have been cut or eliminated over the past three years. The block grants will also limit districts' ability to rehire furloughed employees to reduce class sizes. 

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