GOP Budget Falls Short of Philly Schools Request
Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed the GOP-led legislature’s state budget Tuesday night, in part, he said, because it would set aside far less education funding than he believes is fair.
How much less?
Earlier this year, the Philadelphia School District asked state lawmakers for an extra $206 million. The Republican bill would have provided only an additional $21.8 million to the school district, according to data from Senate GOP spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher. That’s about 11 percent of the surplus funding that district officials said they need.
Wolf’s proposed budget would also spend less on the school district than officials would like, but just slightly. His plan would allocate an extra $184 million to the city’s schools, according to district spokesman Fernando Gallard.
Although the GOP budget would have given the schools half a loaf, it still would have been enough to cover the district’s $85 million shortfall when combined with the $70 million in new revenue approved by City Council last month. The district requested money beyond that, though, because it hoped to begin investing in classrooms again after several years of severe cutbacks.
Deborah Gordon Klehr, executive director of the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania, applauded Wolf’s decision to veto the proposal.
“The General Assembly has failed our children by refusing to restore draconian funding cuts that have left our poorest districts unable to meet the needs of their students,” she said, referring to cuts made under former Gov. Tom Corbett.
Wolf and state lawmakers resumed talks on the budget at 2 p.m. today, the Associated Press reported.