Pa. Education Secretary makes case for more money

    Pennsylvania Education Secretary Gerald Zahorchak is defending a proposed $444 million budget increase for his department as an investment in Pennsylvania’s economy. Education is one of the few area that the governor is proposing to spend more.

    Pennsylvania Education Secretary Gerald Zahorchak is defending a proposed $444 million budget increase for his department as an investment in Pennsylvania’s economy. Education is one of the few area that the governor is proposing to spend more.
    Scott Detrow reports from Harrisburg.

    [audio:100302SDEDU.mp3]

    About three-quarters of the spending increase would go toward basic education funding for school districts, which Governor Rendell is committed to increasing again this year.

    Zahorchak says steadily upping the money Pennsylvania spends on K – 12 education is paying off – and urges the state’s next governor to continue the trend.

    Zahorchak: We’ve gone from 50 percent of our kids on grade level to 72 percent. The vast majority of our kids, about two-thirds in high school, are ready for a track that will take them to AP Calculus. This is never-before readiness for better things. The new governor should be working on the next level. How can I make sure a hundred percent of my kids are getting the opportunity to do things like AP Calculus?

    In all, Rendell wants to spend $5.2 billion state on basic education, as well as $654 million federal stimulus dollars.
    The governor’s budget proposes slight decreases in Pre-K and Head Start funding.
    Total education spending would come in at $9.9 billion.

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