New Pa. budget cuts money for colleges, holding K-12 the same

    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is presenting a $27.1 billion state budget that holds the line on spending, and cuts deep into higher education while planning level funding for basic education.

    The budget plan attempts to close a defcit forecast at more than $700 million by the end of the fiscal year.

    Corbett’s proposing a 30 percent cut to most of the state-related universities — Penn State, Pitt, and Temple — while Lincoln University’s funding is unchanged in his proposal.

    The State System of Higher Education schools, such as West Chester and Kutztown, would get a 20 percent cut under the plan.

    Last year, the state schools were cut by 18 percent.

    The Pennsylvania Department of Education would be funded at about the same level, but the state’s method for sending funding to school districts is changing.

    The Corbett administration says it won’t affect the formula that determines which school district gets what amount of money.

    The Department of Public Welfare would also get about the same funding, but cash assistance benefits would be cut to save more than $300 million.

    The Department of Environmental Protection would see a $10 million cut, or about 8 percent of its budget reduced.

    Asked for his response, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said that he listened closely to Corbett’s proposal, but noting that details do matter, he’ll wait for specifics.

    “I’m going to wait to see the funding levels,” said Nutter, adding, “I want to see the details.”

    In addition, Mayor Nutter said that budgets have a symbolic function. “A budget is more than words and numbers — it’s a statement,” he said.

    State Representative Pam DeLissio (D-194) expanded upon Nutter’s desire for further information, noting that “the devil is in the details.”

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