Education groups none too happy with guv's budget

All over the commonwealth, education groups and advocates are expressing their alarm over Gov. Corbett's first proposed budget, which they say has returned funding for K-12 education to the 2008-09 funding level.

In his 2011-12 budget proposal, Corbett cut nearly $550 million in basic education funding.

"Today's proposal is a distressing step backward, one that will dramatically weaken our children’s education," said Ron Cowell, president of The Education Policy and Leadership Center and spokesman for the Public School Funding Campaign.


The state has used federal funds to increase school funding and cover a 9 percent reduction in its own support, said Cowell.

“The expiration of federal funding and the proposed reduction or elimination of 17 budget line items mean schools will get 6.2 percent less than they are receiving this year," he said.

Mayor Nutter also bemoaned the impact the guv's budget could have for Philadelphians, especially with the elimination of the school district’s Accountability Block Grant, which has been used in the city to provide full day kindergarten services, and the elimination of charter school reimbursements.

“While it is too early to speak in detail about the impact on Philadelphia of the budget introduced by Governor Corbett, I am very concerned about what the proposals outlined today mean for Philadelphia’s students, our vulnerable citizens, and our ability to grow and create jobs," he said.

Though Corbett proposed getting rid of charter reimbursements to districts, he supported a voucher bill, Senate Bill 1, that would provide funding for students in public schools to enroll in private schools.

The governor also asked school districts to consider freezing the salaries of all district personnel for a year, which he believes could save about $400 million.

Since the guv's announcement, the district's Chief Financial Officer, Michael Masch, has been analyzing and reviewing the educational impact on the district, a district spokeswoman said. He, along with Deputy Supt. Lee Nunery, will brief reporters tomorrow at 1 p.m., on how the district will move forward, and will also outline the specifics of phase two of the district's three-phase strategic budget plan.