BLOG: We Still Have a Long Way to Go (VIDEO)

By: Governor Tom Wolf

April 13, 2016

Since day one, I have been fighting for historic investments in education at all levels, including K through 12 basic education, to restore the devastating cuts that forced educator layoffs, increased class sizes, program cuts, and soaring property taxes. I have also been pushing for a fair funding formula to end Pennsylvania’s inequitable distribution of education dollars, one of the most inequitable in the country.

We still have a long way to go to restore the damaging cuts and to implement a fair funding formula that takes into account each district’s unique needs. The new fair funding formula, which I support, cannot truly be fair unless the cuts are fully restored. Currently, only 4 percent of districts have seen their funding restored to 2010-11 levels and we are currently over $370 million short from fully restoring the cuts.

That is why in January my administration began distributing money to schools through a restoration formula and why we will be using a similar restoration formula now. Through this formula, every school district in the commonwealth will receive more money than they received in 2014-15.

And if Republicans in the legislature had supported my 2015-16 budget proposal — instead of continuing the status quo of underfunding schools and passing tax burdens onto local homeowners – there would have been $200 million more for education than in the Republican budget.

Republicans are conveniently ignoring the reality of the devastation they were complicit in causing five years ago when $1 billion was cut from education disproportionately affecting the poorest school districts. Many of the poorest districts have not had their funding restored. In fact, the Republican plan would have taken money back that has already been allocated from some of the poorest districts.

I remain hopeful Republican leaders will put politics aside and work with me to pass the 2016-17 budget in order to ensure we are adequately investing in education and finally implementing a fair funding formula.


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