February 7, 2012
I want to take the opportunity to update you on the significant and widespread cuts to public education that Governor Corbett proposed in today’s budget address and to remind you about our upcoming meeting in support of public education.
As anticipated, the governor has again targeted public education for massive budget cuts – slashing nearly $400 million in total from early learning programs, programs for struggling students and higher education.
The governor’s 2012-13 budget plan calls for cutting:
- $100 million from local school districts – on top of the billion dollar cut they had to absorb last year.
- 30 percent from the four state related universities, Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln – in addition to the 19 percent cut they faced last year.
- $82.5 million (or 20 percent) from the 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, including West Chester and Cheyney – in addition to the 18 percent cut they shouldered last year.
These cuts will be disastrous for students at all levels and even more devastating in the years to come. This budget means increased local property taxes for families and larger class sizes, less individualized attention and fewer specialized programs for children. This budget means increased tuition and fees for college students, greater student borrowing and debt and more people on the unemployment rolls. It means that the dream of higher education will be out of reach for more and more promising young people.
In his own words, Governor Corbett said that this budget proposal reflects the “core functions” of state government. Clearly, the governor does not feel that one of the most basic responsibilities of government is educating and preparing citizens for the future.
Last year, under Corbett, public schools were funded at levels not seen since 2006. This year, the Corbett budget plan will continue to decimate public education, rolling public school funding back another year to 2005 levels!
Given these continued efforts to dismantle public education, along with the administration’s failure to assist Chester-Upland and the other financially distressed school districts that are on the brink of closure thanks to last year’s cuts, there is no doubt that public education is under attack in Harrisburg. It is time for the citizens of Chester and Montgomery counties to stand up and protect our schools both here and throughout Pennsylvania.
We are asking all those who value public education to come together for a meeting on Thursday, February 9, 2012, at 7 pm in the auditorium of Downingtown East High School, 50 Devon Drive (just off Route 113) in Exton.
We must come together to organize and to protect funding for all levels of public education. It is our hope to create an ongoing Coalition for Public Education that will stand strong as we face this year’s state budget and other challenges to public education to come.
Please let us know if you can attend the Feb 9 meeting by contacting Deb Woolson at my office at (610) 692-2112 or e-mailing email@example.com. If you cannot attend but are interested in becoming involved in the planned Coalition for Public Education, also let us know.
Offices of State
Senator Andy Dinniman