Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Budget: $30 million in cuts to early childhood education programs; $95 million in cuts to public schools thru elimination of ABG; Keystone Exams scaled back


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Governor’s proposed budget calls for more than $30 million in cuts to high-quality early learning programs and $95 million reduction in state aid to public schools through elimination of Accountability Block Grants

PR Newswire also reports that this budget allocates $15.4 million to implement Keystone Exams, which are rigorous, end-of-course assessments for high school students. The number of exams will be reduced from 10 to three and the requirement for them to be factored into a course grade will be eliminated. However, beginning in 2017, successful completion of the Keystone Exam or a project-based alternate will be required for graduation from high school.

Gov. Tom Corbett proposes $27.1 billion budget with no tax increases

However, the governor's proposal does include deep cuts to higher education assistance and a range of cost-saving measures in services for the poor and disabled.
York Daily Record By MARC LEVY and PETER JACKSON, Associated Press
This includes links to the full text of the budget address and to a PDF of the complete budget proposal (1000 pages)

Video: Governor Corbett’s Budget Address (runtime 8:16)
From the Governor’s website.

“The governor’s proposed budget calls for more than $30 million in cuts to high-quality early learning programs, despite Corbett’s campaign pledge in 2010 to double the number of children who benefit from these proven programs.”
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children: Gov. Corbett's 2012-13 Budget Comes Up Short for Kids, Despite Good News for Older Foster Youth
Press Release February 7, 2012
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children President and CEO Joan Benso today made the following comments on Gov. Tom Corbett’s 2012-13 budget proposal, which includes harmful cuts to key programs that help children and their families.
The governor’s proposed budget calls for more than $30 million in cuts to high-quality early learning programs, despite Corbett’s campaign pledge in 2010 to double the number of children who benefit from these proven programs.

“If approved, public school entities would see a nearly $95 million reduction in state aid when taking into consideration elimination of Accountability Block Grant.”
PA School Boards Association: Proposed budget shifts tax burden to local taxpayers
PSBA 2/7/2012
For the second year in a row, public education has been hit with proposed cuts in state funding, under the 2012-13 state budget unveiled by Gov. Tom Corbett. If approved, public school entities would see a nearly $95 million reduction in state aid when taking into consideration elimination of Accountability Block Grant. This would come on top of the nearly $900 million cut public education sustained in last year's budget.
"Our students, our schools and our communities cannot continue to bear the weight of these funding cuts. They are at the breaking point," said PSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel.

PA School Funding Campaign: STATE EDUCATION BUDGET PROMISES MORE BURDEN FOR LOCAL TAXPAYERS AND CUTS FOR STUDENTS
Budget proposal ignores need to create high quality learning opportunities for all of PA’s children
 HARRISBURG—(February 7, 2012)—Members of the Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign (PSFC) expressed disappointment today about Governor Corbett’s budget message and its implications for public education.  On the heels of the 2011-2012 budget, which cut nearly $1 billion from public schools, this year’s budget continues to shift the school funding burden to school districts and local taxpayers.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2012
Education Voters PA: Statement on Proposed Education Budget.
HARRISBURG,PA (February 7, 2012) – Today, the Governor outlined his funding priorities in his 2012-2013 budget speech. In this proposal, the Governor continues to reduce funding to public education. For basic education, Corbett carries forward last year’s drastic $900 million cut and then proposes combining four separate lines items into a single line. Unfortunately the total funding of what these four items would have added up to if they were not combined means basic education will receive an additional cut, a cut local school districts cannot handle. In addition, PASSHE schools will receive a 20% cut, state-related schools will receive a 30% cut and Pre-K Counts and Head Start will each get a 5% cut.

PA Budget and Policy Center – Coverage of the Governor’s Budget
TUESDAY:  We will have budget spreadsheets at our web site by midday, followed by a preliminary analysis of most departments that evening.
WEDNESDAY: Start your day off by reading Sharon Ward's op-ed on the Governor's budget plan in theAllentown Morning Call.
Then at 10 a.m. tune in to WHYY's Radio Times to hear Sharon put the budget in context and take questions from callers.
And at 1 p.m. dial in to PBPC's conference call to get the inside scoop on the budget (call-in number: (760) 569-7676; participant code: 453547).
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU. Go to our Facebook page this week and tell us what you think about the budget.

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