Republicans are poised to pass a state budget that adds a grand total of $8 million in new basic education funding, or roughly 3 cents per student for each school day and less than 1 percent of the $1 billion that was cut from classrooms in the last four Republican-backed budgets.
“Schools in every corner of this state are struggling and our children are paying the price. Classes are overcrowded. Performance is stagnating. Programs are being cut and our kids are falling behind,” said Rick Bloomingdale, President of the PA AFL-CIO. “But Republican leaders have decided to essentially walk away from the single largest challenge our commonwealth confronts.”
GOP leaders argue that the budget includes $100 million in new basic education funding and $20 million in special education funding. But they do not acknowledge that the budget also calls for deferring $112 million in social security payments and retirement costs.
“If it weren’t so sad, this math would be laughable. To suggest that $100 million is sufficient to start restoring our schools is insulting. To play games like this and try to get away with $8 million in new funding is shameful,” added Tom Herman, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 668 . “It boggles the mind that the Republicans think it is just fine to skip paying Social Security taxes and call that responsible budgeting.”
The CLEAR Coalition’s member organizations represent 1.1 million Pennsylvania families. The coalition advocates for fair budget solutions that adequately fund core programs and services.