Gov. Wolf defends proposed school funding increase, Pa. superintendents remain cautious

This Week in Pennsylvania

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Under Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed $1.35-billion education funding increase, schools across the state would receive more money.

In Lancaster County, one of the districts that would receive one of the highest funding increases under the proposal is Eastern Lancaster County School District, which would receive a 55% funding boost.

“We’re still trying to figure out where the budget is really going to come out versus what the Governor asked for,” Eastern Lancaster County Superintendent, Dr. Robert Hollister, said.

Superintendents are hopeful, but cautious.

Wolf is calling for education dollars to be given out according to a Fair Funding Formula. That’s something schools have wanted for years.

“Growing districts in big cities and rural communities will finally get their fair share and we can ease the pressure on property taxpayers,” Wolf said on Thursday.

The formula takes into account factors like enrollment, student poverty, and charter school enrollment.

Wolf said it stops public school children from being short-changed.

“My legislative plan is an investment in Pennsylvania students, but really it’s an investment in the future for all of us,” he said.

Republicans, like Sen. Scott Martin (R-13th District), call Wolf short-sighted. 

Martin said the massive funding increase is only made possible with a personal income tax hike totaling more than $3 billion.

“It would impact over a million of our small businesses,” Martin said. “On one side you have the governor pointing to Washington D.C. saying what are you going to do to help these businesses from the shutdowns I put in place? On the other side, you’re trying to reach into their pocket and take money at the same time.”

Some districts say without a funding change massive cuts could be coming the next school year.

“This is something that gets to the heart our own interest whether you’re Republican or Democrat,” Wolf said. “Rural or urban we all will benefit from a school system that is fairly and fully funded.”

Many say Wolf’s proposal stands little chance in the Republican-dominated General Assembly.

the other side, you’re trying to reach into their pocket and take money at the same time.”

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