Governor Wolf’s Budget: A Historic Investment in Education That’s Smart for Our Economy And Right for Our Students

March 06, 2015

Governor Wolf Budget: A Historic Investment in Education That’s Smart for Our Economy And Right for Our Students

 For a district-by-district view of the budget’s historic investments in schools and property tax relief, go to www.schoolsthatteach.com

“Over the past four years, Pennsylvania took a step in the wrong direction by trying to balance our state budget on the backs of our schools. It left us with 25,000 educators out of work. It forced 75% of school districts to cut academic programs. It forced 70% of our school districts to increase class sizes. It left 56% of Pa. students with no access to a full-time librarian. And it forced too many schools to cut art and band to pay for reading and math. My fellow Pennsylvanians: this is not a formula for success.”

– Governor Tom Wolf, 2015 Budget Address

Governor Wolf’s budget makes historic investments in education. Over the last four years schools across Pennsylvania have suffered from $1 billion cuts that led to massive layoffs, huge property tax increases, and the elimination of valuable programs. The data also shows that as education classroom funding fell, so did student scores in reading and math.

Governor Wolf’s budget will increase the state’s share of funding for public education to 50% for the first time in more than 40 years. By cutting school district property taxes by more than 50% for the average homeowner, Governor Wolf’s budget will reduce the burden on the middle class and senior citizens and others who carry too much of the burden for funding our schools.

For the past few weeks and throughout his campaign, Governor Wolf has traveled our state, visiting schools, talking with teachers and parents, and sitting with students in classrooms. Governor Wolf has seen dedicated teachers and committed students who simply do not have the resources they need. That is why Governor Wolf proposed a common-sense severance tax on natural gas extraction, and asked schools districts to reduce administrative and back-office costs to refocus resources to classrooms, and find $150 million in savings through shared services and other efficiencies.

Restoring Devastating Cuts to Public Schools: Governor Wolf’s budget restores cuts to basic education with a four-year commitment to increase preK-12 funding by $2 billion. This year alone, Governor Wolf’s budget would invest $400 million more in basic education; $100 million more in special education; and $120 million more in early childhood education. The budget includes restoration of many of the cuts to classroom funding over the last four years, and calls for strong and fair accountability to ensure results.

Real Property Tax Relief: Governor Wolf’s budget includes a historic $3.8 billion in property tax relief. Homeowner property taxes will see more than a 50% – or $1,000 – reduction on average.

Expanding Pre-K: This budget pursues a goal of universal pre-kindergarten instruction for all children and expanding access to early childhood education by increasing the number of children in Pre-K by 75 percent. The data shows that low-income kids who had Pre-K outperform their peers in 3rd grade reading and math.

Reinvesting in Higher Learning: For higher education, Governor Wolf’s budget begins to restore cuts made to our institutions of higher learning by providing a combined $140.9 million more this year to our community colleges, state colleges and universities, and state-related universities. Today, just 48% of Pennsylvanians have a college degree or industry-recognized certification. But by 2025, 60% of good-paying jobs will require these credentials. Pennsylvania must close the gap.

Doing nothing is not an option: Governor Wolf does not want to be part of the first generation of Pennsylvanians who have to tell our children that they have to go somewhere else to achieve success. No one does. But now we need to do big things to rebuild Pennsylvania’s middle class and get Pennsylvania back on track.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Sheridan – 717.783.1116

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