Pa. Dems take issue with Corbett school funding plan

    State Democratic leaders are beginning to make finer points of disagreement with Gov. Tom Corbett on the centerpiece of his budget proposal.

    The governor has defended his proposed $240 million block grant for Pennsylvania’s public schools as a way to ensure money is being funneled into classrooms for academic improvement.

    It differs from an existing $100 million state block grant to schools in two ways — how it can be spent and how it is doled out to school districts, also known as its formula.

    The formula, said state Sen. Andy Dinniman, is problematic.

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    “The poorest school districts do not appear to be doing very well on it,” he said.

    Any funding increase should be driven out to districts based on the formula used for the existing block grant in the education budget, because it accounts for problems typically found in low-income school districts, said Dinniman, D-Chester.

    The governor has indicated his administration may look into the issue. And it’s likely to be a subject of debate, said Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, the chairman of the chamber’s Education Committee.

    Appropriations committees will spend the next three weeks taking budget recommendations from the governor’s cabinet secretaries and other state agency directors.

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