Category Archives: PA Senate

Restoring education cuts: the House bill vs. the Senate bill

The PA state budget saga (or is it now a farce?) continues, with the Republican-majority Senate and the Republican-majority House at odds with each other. A very good reason, in 2016, to give Gov. Wolf more legislators who will put the public interest above placating anti-education forces.

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has posted a downloadable list for all PA school districts so we can all draw our own conclusions. The chart below is extracted to show the 12 school districts primarily in Chester County plus to two partly in Chester County:

Chesco school districts in budget

Cuts in 2011-12
shows the amounts taken from classroom education under Gov. Corbett. Roughly speaking, the more the district needs help, the more funding the state took away; and the wealthier the district, the less it lost. No comment needed.

SB 1073 is the “framework bill” resulting from long budget negotiations (almost a year now, starting well before the budget was due on June 30), which passed by the Senate 43-7 on Dec. 12, and which the House was expected to approve and Gov. Wolf to sign. Though the per-student figures show that the increase would not make up for the Corbett cuts, at least it would make a good contribution and show legislators’ good will. But Republican leadership did not allow a vote.

HB 1460 is the retrograde version, similar to one vetoed by Gov. Wolf in June, and that the Republican-majority Senate just passed, after it failed to pass SB 1073, just before it went home for Christmas break. As the per-student column shows, the amounts are piddly compared to the need and don’t even seem to measure up to inflation.

Furthermore, the General Assembly’s failure to balance the state budget means it cannot fund bonds for construction loans needed by school districts, resulting in further losses to education.

Gov. Wolf has just partially vetoed the appropriations bill, but letting through emergency funding to help schools in the second half of 2015.