Harrisburg – This evening Governor Wolf signed the 2018-19 state budget and accompanying code bills, including the school code, into law after both pieces of legislation received bipartisan support in the House and Senate. The following is a statement from Excellent Schools PA’s Executive Director, Steve DeMaura, on the impact that the passage of the 2018-19 budget will have on K-12 education.
“Excellent Schools PA is pleased to see that the General Assembly and the Administration have maintained their financial support for PA’s public schools, with an additional $100 million to be run through the Basic Education Funding formula for districts. We are also encouraged by the additional funds allocated to career and technical education programs to prepare students for success in the workforce and the resources dedicated to improving school safety.
We applaud the added $25 million that was included in the budget to support PA’s scholarship tax credit programs (EITC and OSTC), which provide families with access to scholarships to send their children to non-public schools.
While we praise the General Assembly and the Governor for the additional financial resources flowing to our schools, we are disappointed that another budget cycle has passed with no solution or plan to improve PA’s lowest-performing schools.
In February, Governor Wolf said during his annual budget address that he is committed to ensuring that a ‘zip code doesn’t determine what kind of education you can get.” Four months later and, though many are celebrating the first on-time budget for Wolf, the 250,000+ students stranded in PA’s failing schools are once again learning the hard lesson that what politicians say and what they do are two very different things. If elected officials were truly dedicated to ensuring every student had access to a high-quality school, they would recognize that funneling additional dollars into failing schools is not improving outcomes for PA students.
The Governor and the General Assembly need to work to invest in meaningful reforms that improve or replace failing schools, and rescue our students stranded in learning environments that are not working for them.”
Jessica Hickernell – 717.371.8155