(4/29) It is with great dismay that I express my displeasure with Governor Tom Wolf’s recent decision that haphazardly cut nearly $1 million from local schools.
The budget approved by lawmakers last month included an additional $200 million in education funding that was supposed to be driven out to school districts based on a new formula that was developed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers who worked cooperatively on the issue for more than a year. That process included numerous public hearings and input from teachers, school
administrators, students, parents and other education advocates.
Under the newly developed Basic Education Funding Formula, schools in the 33rd Senatorial District were supposed to receive nearly $3.4 million in additional dollars from the state.
Governor Wolf vetoed the bipartisan funding formula and created his own formula, which trimmed total funding to local school districts by nearly $1 million. The governor’s arbitrary formula was not approved by the legislature, was not subject to public input or review and possibly violated state law.
The new formula was put in place specifically to take the politics out of the school funding process and ensure any new money devoted to our schools is based on the real factors that drive the cost of education. It is extremely disappointing that Governor Wolf has turned his back on this bipartisan agreement and injected a fresh dose of partisanship into the process. It is
beyond unacceptable that the governor’s actions place the interests of his favored political allies above the needs of our local students.
Some of the biggest cuts to local schools under the governor’s arbitrary funding scheme are:
- Conewago Valley School District in Adams County, which saw nearly 55 percent of its new funding eliminated, from $371,695 to $172,767.
- Gettysburg Area School District in Adams County, which received a $90,625 cut from the $260,013 it was supposed to receive.
- Shippensburg Area School District in Cumberland County, which receives $207,807 less than the $394,681 that was promised under the legislative formula.
- Waynesboro School District in Franklin County, which saw $23,794 cut from its $357,485 in new state funding.
- Hanover Public School District in York County, which will receive just $103,908 in new funding instead of the $262,719 in new funding approved by lawmakers.
- South Western School District in York County, which saw its additional state funding cut by more than 50 percent from $289,440 to $125,947.
The budget approved by lawmakers was supposed to send an additional $44 million to Philadelphia schools. Governor Wolf’s new formula nearly doubled this amount to $76 million at the expense of school districts across the state, including most schools in Adams, Cumberland, Franklin and York counties.
Our schools have suffered enough thanks to the funding crisis the governor created and maintained throughout most of the 2015-16 school year. Our local students shouldn’t have to suffer again just because they live in a region that didn’t support the governor’s election campaign. Throughout the budget process, I fought to provide more money for our schools and relieve the
crushing financial pressures facing school districts, and I will continue to fight to make sure our students and teachers have the resources they need.
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