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Corbett Touts STEM Funding in 2015-16 Budget Proposal

Liz Reid
90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Corbett was in Pittsburgh Monday, touring the Carnegie Science Center and touting his 2015-16 budget proposal, which he says includes funds mean to boost student achievement in STEM fields.

“It’s vital to make sure that every child today … has a full productive life for tomorrow, and (is) being exposed to science, technology, engineering, and math,” Corbett said.

Corbett drew attention to $241 million in new funding for the Ready to Learn Block Grant, which has historically supported pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs. The governor is proposing that those programs continue to be funded at current level of $100 million, while the new money would be focused on preparing students for third grade, STEM education, and supplemental instruction.

“The governor has asked that that block grant be targeted at raising student achievement, and it’s the local decision-making that has to occur of how to invest the dollars to raise student achievement,” explained Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq. “It could be in more science teachers, it could be in more math, it could be in more English (or) integrated arts, if that’s how they believe student achievement will be increased.”

Corbett said his budget proposes “investing more … state money today in education than at any time in the history of the commonwealth.” Total pre-K through 12 spending is proposed at $10.8 billion, a 4.6 percent increase over the 2014-15 budget and an 11.5 percent increase over 2012-13.

Dumaresq said she is fully behind the governor’s budget proposal for education spending.

“This budget that the governor has recommended strategically invests taxpayers’ dollars that will benefit students, with the long-term economic stability of the commonwealth in mind,” she said.

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