2015 Budget: A plan to fund our schools

tom wolf budget 2015

One of the most important parts of Gov. Wolf’s proposed budget is the focus on education. In under two years we can restore the $1 Billion in Corbett cuts and increase the percentage of dollars each school district receives from the state, while relieving the tax burden on working families. It all seems too good to be true, but it’s not, and we are going to explain where the money to fund our schools will come from.

Every school district in the commonwealth felt the sting of Tom Corbett’s four years as governor. He syphoned money from our schools, while giving tax breaks to the super wealthy and his friends in the shale drilling business. Classrooms swelled with students, sometimes cramming 50 deep for a math class. Hard working and promising teachers lost their jobs because districts couldn’t afford to keep them–over 20,000 educators across the state. Programs were cut, and our kids saw essentials like art, music and gym all but disappear from their schedules.

To see the impact of the proposed budget on your school district click here and select your school district.

Communities across the Commonwealth are organizing to fight back and demand a full and fair funding model. Together we elected a governor who values education as much as we do. We need to continue to demand the education funding be restored, by taxing the shale industry, just like every other state does, and just like Wolf proposed.

Restore School Funding 

Gov. Wolf proposes to finance our investment in education with a 5% severance tax on shale drillers. It’s about time Pennsylvanians see super rich oil companies to pay their taxes. For too long Pennsylvania has been an all you can eat buffet for the industry, but we are done with business as usual. Over time, this investment will not only fill the gap left by Corbett’s drastic cuts it will, along with other tax reforms, increase basic education spending by 7% so that we can actually invest in a more equitable future for our children.

Reforming Charter School Funding

This budget reforms charter school funding in two significant ways:

  • recalculating cyber charter funding. This will ensure that on-line programs have a payment limit and no longer receive the same payments as a brick and mortar schools who have significantly different overhead costs
  • prohibiting the charter pension “double-dip” that reimburses charter and cyber charter schools twice for the same employee costs.

Tax Relief for the Middle Class 

Right now, the state provides 35% of a school district’s overall budget. The rest is made up with property taxes from within the district. This means that the disparity we see in public schools is directly related to the neighborhoods that surround it. A poor neighborhood has a smaller tax base to pull from than a wealthier neighborhood, feeding the inequity in our public schools. Over time, once the $1 billion in cuts have been restored, Wolf plans to increase the level of state funding to each district from 35% to 50%,allowing for property taxes to be decreased and relieving the district from over-reliance on property taxes in the future.

To see the impact of the proposed budget on your school district click here and select your school district.

Stay tuned as we break down more of the Governor’s budget, connecting the dots on corporations, taxes and what it all means to you.

 

One Response to “2015 Budget: A plan to fund our schools”

  1. […] We’ve talked about money for education in our last post on the budget. Did you miss it? Take a look here. […]