Governor’s Education Cuts Could Close Schools
With the stroke of his pen, Gov. Tom Wolf single-handedly stripped more than $3 billion in education funding from the budget approved in December by the state House and Senate.

Those cuts may now lead some schools in Pennsylvania to close their doors to students.

Don’t just take my word for it.  The governor’s own administration recently sent instructions to school districts advising them about steps to take in order to close down their schools.

Regardless of whether you support or oppose the governor, one thing is beyond dispute:  $3 billion could have helped schools avoid this potential disaster.

The governor’s education funding cut amounted to an average reduction of approximately $1,700 per student in Pennsylvania.  That money could have kept school doors open that may be forced to shut.

The worst part is that state government already has the money.  The $3 billion in additional funding approved by the House and Senate would not have required a broad-based tax increase.  The state, in fact, is collecting the money as you read this.

The problem lies in the fact that the governor removed the funding from the budget.  The House and Senate can (and did) pass a budget, but it is up to the governor to approve or reject specific appropriations.  The governor is the one who decided to cut funding for Pennsylvania schools by $3 billion.

The governor may hope that if a school closes down, taxpayers may be more likely to support his calls for massive tax hikes.  Don’t be fooled.  We don’t need humongous tax hikes to increase funding for schools by $3 billion above the amount approved by the governor.  We simply need to release the funds already being collected by state government.  We also need a governor who is willing to work with the Legislature to release those funds.

If schools close down, it will be because the governor trapped the money for them in Harrisburg.

- By Rep. Lee James (R-Venango/Butler)

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