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Politics & Government

Policy Group Wants More Funding for Education in PA Budget

A leading education group in Pennsylvania is happy to see an education funding increase in Governor Tom Corbett’s budget proposal but its leader thinks the bump is not enough.

"These increases in no way begin to restore the overall cuts that were made over the last two years and in no way begin to undo the harm that was created by those cuts to education over the last two years," said Education Policy and Leadership Center President Ron Cowell

Corbett’s budget calls for a $90 million increase in education funding for public schools, but the number is based on the state moving forward with the privatization of the state’s liquor stores and the sale of licenses to sell beer. 

"That breaks out to something less than $100 per student, times the aide-ratio of the district," Cowell said.  "So the poorer districts, those districts with a larger aide-ratio, would in a relative sense get more help from this $90 million increase than would the wealthier school districts around the state."

Cowell was in the state legislature for 24 years and hopes his former colleagues will use their power to bump up education funding.

"In each of the last couple of years, although those budgets were awful, they were not as awful as the governor proposed," Cowell said.  "Grassroots activity and the advocacy work that was done in the capital did make a difference in terms of improving a number of those line items in each of the last two years."

One major area of concern for Cowell is the lack of an increase in special education funding.  He said costs for those services are quickly increasing.