ISSUES & ADVOCACY

State Budget Scorecard

2016-17 state budget

The state budget is always complicated and frequently includes issues that aren't related to the budget, but that pass along with it. This year, PSEA members beat back a number of bills that would have been bad for our schools, our students, and our profession. Here's a scorecard to keep track.

WIN. School Funding. The budget includes a $200 million increase in basic education funding, $20 million more for special education, and another $30 million for pre-kindergarten. These investments are short of what Gov. Wolf proposed in February, but are significant increases for cash-strapped schools, and a positive step toward the funding levels schools need and students deserve.

WIN. School Funding Formula. PSEA was at the forefront of a coalition that pushed for a new, fair funding formula for our schools. Gov. Wolf signed that bill into law last month, and the formula it includes will drive out this year's school funding increases. Right now, Pennsylvania is 46th in the nation in state funding to public schools and dead last in equity. This new formula will go a long way to correcting this. Find out how it impacts your school here.

School Code Changes. Mixed Bag. The School Code bill that landed on the governor's desk includes more than two dozen issues. Unfortunately, one provision expands the number of people who can administer insulin in schools, which PSEA opposed. But it also authorizes a new provisional vocational education certificate, something we've been supporting for years. Just as important is what's not in this bill. A law change to make it easier to furlough experienced educators based on the untested new evaluation system didn't go the distance, which is a big win for PSEA.

DRAW. Pension Attacks. The Legislature left town for the summer without putting a pension bill on Gov. Wolf's desk. But this fight isn't over. The House passed a pension bill two weeks ago, and the Senate voted to take the bill to a conference committee in an effort to work out differences between the House and Senate. Lawmakers are definitely going to try and move some kind of pension bill in the fall.

WIN. Payroll Deduction. For years now, some lawmakers have been focused on passing a bill to take away our right to pay union dues through voluntary payroll deductions. This is part of their strategy to bully us and weaken our union. However, the Legislature adjourned without taking the bill up in the House.

 

 

 



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