Educators weigh Pa. budget plan

 

Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget plan is getting a lot of reaction, especially his proposal to slash almost $1.2 billion in funding for education.

The governor wants to cut funding for Pennsylvania colleges from $1.5 billion to $836 million. He also proposes cutting $550 million from the state subsidy to local school districts.

Kenneth Lawrence, Temple University’s senior vice president for government, community, and public affairs, said the school will ask legislators to continue their investment in higher education.

“The governor’s budget proposal to cut the commonwealth appropriation to Temple and to the other state-related universities by 50 percent would dramatically alter the relationship between the commonwealth and these schools,” said Lawrence.

For 50 years, commonwealth support has helped the state-related schools provide access to a high-quality and affordable education, while also building research enterprises that have driven the Pennsylvania economy, said Lawrence.

James P. Testerman, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the state’s largest school employee union, said the combined loss of federal funds and state subsidy reductions proposed by Corbett will harm the quality of education across the state.

“Our primary concern in this difficult economic time is the impact of policy changes on the children attending public schools,” said Testerman. “Cutting programs that work for students, raising class sizes, furloughing teachers and creating uncertainty for parents over who will be teaching their children should cause concern for all Pennsylvanians.”

“We understand these are difficult economic times for the commonwealth, but the consequence of the governor’s budget proposal is a billion dollars less going into Pennsylvania’s classrooms,” Testerman said. “No matter how you look at it, the reality is direct services to students will suffer.”

Testerman said PSEA members are concerned that the governor’s proposed school funding cuts would reverse years of academic progress.

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