Saturday, June 29, 2013

In education: It is one thing to cut budgets. It is another to cut opportunities.

The good news about this 2014 PA budget that is nearing passage is that the cutting of funding for education and education-related items has stopped. Lawmakers are getting the message that Pennsylvania voters are very dissatisfied with the way state lawmakers have treated education funding in recent years. But actions by the Governor and state legislators to date do not begin to restore the massive cuts made during the past several years, and the subsequent harm to learning opportunities for students of all ages in the Commonwealth.
School cuts are a top concern for Pennsylvania voters, especially women voters. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) and Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) released on June 24 the results of a poll of Pennsylvania voters conducted mid-June. Of those polled, 28 percent ranked education funding for public schools as their top priority for the Governor and Legislature to take action on. Economic development and jobs ranked second with 27 percent, and other issues such as healthcare, taxes, and roads and bridges were identified as priorities by 15 percent or less of voters. There are more voters who favor restoring funding to public education than voters who favor maintaining no tax increase. Fifty-five percent of voters would support a proposal that would include a small sales tax increase of .25 percent and delay a planned corporate tax cut; voters are more supportive of increasing their own taxes to restore public school funding when corporations share in the investment.
To see the PBPC and PCCY's joint press release, click here.
What worries me is that we can still swim, even with the tiny bit of funding that remains, or without funding in some areas, but we are not allowed to swim because administrators don't get it done.

In Pittsburgh it is way too hard to get the signed pool permit for a facility that is already built, already functional, already staffed, already filled with water, already with its pumps running and filtration in progress. The costs are next to nothing. The upside is amazing.

We need to do more with less. When we do, we want everyone locally to be pulling for the kids. We want wellness to win. We want action for the sake of our kids. We want them to have fun and thrive on learning. We want hands on activities. In the summer, we want to go swimming as the weather permits. Red tape that gets in the way of those that want to dream big needs to be evaluated.

Most of all, I knew it. I told folks months ago and weeks ago that their system had some flaws. This is why we built

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