Questioned as Hearings on Proposed State Budget Begin
11, 2014 – Howard Ondick
HARRISBURG- As Senate budget
hearings begin in Harrisburg, a Berks County lawmaker says before any new
education programs are implemented by the Corbett Administration, the state’s
education funding formula needs to be changed.
speaker is Senator Judy Schwank of Berks County, a member of the Senate
Appropriations Committee, which began three weeks of budget hearings today in
Senate Appropriations Committee kicked off three weeks of budget hearings with
Charles Zogby, Governor Corbett’s Budget Secretary who fielded questions
ranging from education funding to criticism that this budget plan is balanced
on revenue hopes and dreams to concerns over gas drilling in state forests,
lottery funds for senior citizens and the governor’s Healthy PA plan gaining
Schwank says Pennsylvania’s education funding formula “is broken” and needs to
be changed this year. She says the basic
education formula goes back to the 1940s and should be reworked before any new
education programs are implemented.
his budget address last week, Gov. Corbett announced that he wants to implement
a “Ready to Learn” block grant program.
the state had implemented an Accountability Block Grant program for school
Schwank says there’s a patchwork of educational programs and funding formulas
that don’t make any sense, are outdated, and don’t allow school district
administrators to properly plan their budgets year to year.
Corbett’s budget plan calls for more than $10.1 billion in state funds in
support of public schools – an increase of $368.6 million, or 3.8 percent.
Ready to Learn Block Grant, the governor’s new initiative to increase student
achievement, provides $340 million in direct classroom support – $100 million
allocated through the Accountability Block Grant and $240 million distributed
through a student-focused funding formula. Examples of eligible uses include: Pre-kindergarten to grade 3
curriculum alignment; Ensuring that all students are reading and doing math on
target by third grade; Extended learning opportunities for more customized
student instruction; Training to support early literacy; Supplemental
instruction in biology, English language arts and algebra I; Instructional
coaches; Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education; and
Implementation of the State Literacy Plan.