Pa. schools chief sticks up for Corbett budget plan

    Pennsylvania’s top education official is defending Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget plan for next year.

    Corbett’s budget proposal would increase the largest share of state education spending by $20 million, compared with the budget that was passed last year. School districts say that specific increase is overshadowed by the proposed $100 million cut to another education funding stream, known as accountability block grants.

    But Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis points out that stream was axed from the last spending plan for the current year.

    “That accountability block grant was not in the 2011-12 budget, I know that that’ll be some quibbling out there but the fact is that it wasn’t in the 2011-12 budget,” he said. “That line item for the 2011-12 budget was zero.”

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    Corbett himself has said the current budget he passed last year did cut education spending, if one looks at state spending “as a whole.”

    Tomalis says those decision have to be taken into context with a looming expected deficit, and the spending decisions of yesteryear — namely, an over-reliance on temporary federal stimulus funding.

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