Education weighs in on Pa Budget

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HARRISBURG, Pa — It appears the ultimate impetus behind Governor Wolf relenting and allowing the PA-GOP budget plan to pass came from the education quarter. With the specter of public schools running out of money and possibly having to close soon, Wolf decided to let the $6.6 billion spending plan become law, albeit without his signature.

Pennsylvania State Education Association President Jerry Oleksiak issued a statement.

This isn’t the kind of budget that our schools need or that our students deserve, but it keeps our schools open and ensures that Pennsylvania’s students can finish the school year without the threat of their schools shutting down.

It’s unfortunate that we’re now judging the quality of the investments Pennsylvania makes in its students by celebrating the fact that their schools might not run out of money before June.

Gov. Wolf continues to fight for what is right for our kids and our schools, and we support those efforts. He has also has made it clear that we still have a structural deficit in Pennsylvania, and a lot of other problems to solve. I know that Pennsylvania can do better. As lawmakers begin to debate next year’s budget, I encourage all parties to work together and find a way to do better. We have another chance to get this right, and we need to take it.

Oleksiak is a special education teacher in the Upper Merion Area School District. An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents approximately 180,000 future, active and retired teachers and school employees, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.

Guido M. Pichini, chairman of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors, also issued a statement.

We are grateful for the new investment in our students and universities, which will help us to reduce our mounting budget deficit. We hope that this increase—the first in seven years—represents the beginning of a renewed investment in higher education in Pennsylvania. Many individuals, including our university presidents, faculty and staff, trustees, alumni, and students, have spent countless hours over the past several months advocating for the State System. We will continue to work hard to demonstrate to everyone how the state’s investment produces positive results for our students and the Commonwealth.