Philadelphia, March 28, 2013 – State Sen. Vincent J. Hughes released the following statement today after the Philadelphia School Reform Commission (SRC) outlined its revenue needs for the coming year in its new budget.
Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery), the Democratic chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he is pleased the commission finally concluded the Corbett administration is to blame for cutting funds that support the School District of Philadelphia.
The commission said it needs $180 million more in revenue for next year’s budget and has requested that the Corbett administration pony up $120 million to close the funding gap. It has also said it will seek $60 million from the City of Philadelphia.
Gov. Corbett’s last two budgets cut a total of $300 million in funding for schools in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania is now funding education at 2008-09 levels.
“I have long argued that the Corbett administration’s cuts in education will result in broad, deep and devastating impacts for children and parents. In the past, we have missed opportunities to gain additional resources because the SRC failed to adopt an aggressive posture in seeking new funds from the Corbett administration to plug gaping fiscal holes the administration created.
“The SRC needs to strongly reinforce arguments made by lawmakers from Philadelphia that the Corbett administration has short-changed the city in school funding. I am pleased the SRC is now engaged and that they are pursuing new dollars to offset local costs.
“The problem with underfunded schools is not limited to Philadelphia. The Corbett administration has cut $900 million from school districts all across Pennsylvania. Local school districts have responded by raising taxes or cutting programs, or by doing both to balance budgets.
“The SRC was compelled to make tough decisions because of the underfunding. As Democratic appropriations chair, I am committed to properly funding schools and reversing the negative funding tide that has submerged the School District of Philadelphia.”