This publication is your
opportunity to receive regular updates on
the work and the issues that I have been
involved with, both in Harrisburg and
throughout our community.
Please visit my website,
where you will find a comprehensive overview
of our work, various phone numbers and
contact information to assist you in solving
problems, opportunities to volunteer and
assist us in our programs and opportunities
to give your feedback.
Governor Corbett's "Proposed" 2014-2015 Education Budget
Last week, the Governor unveiled his state budget proposal. I wanted to make sure that you had all of the facts about education funding, especially since many media reports made it seem like there would be a sizeable increase for our public schools. Despite the rhetoric coming from the Governor and his allies, the latest state budget proposal continues to fail to properly invest in education.
The Governor’s budget does include a limited amount of additional funding for education. However, this does not make up for three years of deep cuts to our public schools. In fact, direct classroom aid from the state remains nearly $450 million below state funding levels prior to the current Governor’s first budget. This is the legacy of the Governor slashing classroom funding by nearly $1 billion. The modest increases provided since then have disproportionally benefited wealthier school districts rather than the financially struggling schools that received the deepest cuts in his first budget.
Even this year’s increase is problematic, as it benefits wealthier school districts. See below for an analysis of the Governor’s Ready to Learn” Block Grant proposal, which is the centerpiece of his education budget. Please share it with your friends, family, and co-workers so we can get the word out about the Governor’s failure to properly invest in education.
State Senator Vincent Hughes
ANALYSIS: Ready to Learn Block Grant
The Governor’s proposed budget would provide $241 million of new funding to support a newly created Ready To Learn block grant program. This grant would be provided through a new funding formula based upon student count, aid ratio, poverty, and English proficiency.
Charter schools and cyber charter schools will receive direct grants through this block grant. The new block grant would include $1 million for small grants to high performing districts to help struggling school districts improve performance.
The problem with the new Ready To Learn Block Grant is that the Governor has changed the formula for distributing these kinds of classroom support funds. In the traditional formula, which has been in place for about 10 years, Philadelphia would have received $51.9 million of the $241 million. In the new formula that the Governor has created, the Philadelphia School District will receive $29 million. This is a loss of $22 million in potential new funding.
See the chart below to see how much other low-income school districts around the state will be losing under this new formula.
Ready to Learn Under Traditional Formula
|Ready to Learn Under Governor’s Formula
||Net Loss to District
|Philadelphia City SD
|Harrisburg City SD
|York City SD
2014-15 Budget Hearings
The PA Senate Appropriations Committee will be holding budget hearings throughout the month of February. You can find a full schedule and watch live at PASenate.com.
You can find out more specifics about the 2014-15 State Budget and provide your feedback on my website at senatorhughes.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@SenatorHughes).
Offices of State
Senator Vincent Hughes