Education Law Center Statement on the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s Proposed 2017-18 State Budget
June 30, 2017
PHILADELPHIA, PA – Deborah Gordon Klehr, Executive Director of the Education Law Center, released the following statement today in response to the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s proposed 2017-18 state budget:
“The Pennsylvania General Assembly has sent Governor Tom Wolf a compromise state budget agreement that provides some needed new funding for education, including basic education, special education, and early education. Specifically, the bill includes $100 million increase for basic education funding, $25 million increase in special education, $30 million in additional funding for early education, and a $19 million increase in funding for early intervention services for children ages birth-five. Our schools and students sorely need these resources now and the Education Law Center urges Governor Wolf to sign the budget into law.
“While any additional funding helps, we must be clear that this budget is a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed for an adequately and equitably funded statewide public education system. Students need a much larger increase to meet the basic standards the Legislature itself established.
“We remain concerned about some of the ancillary legislative issues that have taken center stage in the last few weeks. Senate Bill 383, which would allow school personnel to carry concealed weapons, should never have been voted out of the Pennsylvania Senate. This is a dangerous policy that will harm children and will not make schools safer. We urge lawmakers instead to support our students and fully fund Pennsylvania’s public schools.
“In addition, we also remain concerned by HB 97, the so-called charter “reform” bill. A responsible charter school law must empower local governing bodies to ensure accountability and strategically control charter growth as a tool to increase quality options and improve our system of public education. Charter schools must be held accountable for their obligation to serve all students. HB 97 is deficient as it stands, and we oppose it.”
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The Education Law Center-PA (“ELC”) is a non-profit, legal advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all children in Pennsylvania have access to a quality public education. Through legal representation, impact litigation, trainings, and policy advocacy, ELC advances the rights of vulnerable children, including children living in poverty, children of color, children in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, children with disabilities, English language learners, LGBTQ students, and children experiencing homelessness. For more information visit http://www.elc-pa.org/ or follow on Twitter @edlawcenterpa.