Will Wolf Ignore Schools’ Pleas, Veto Education Funding?

Will Wolf Ignore Schools’ Pleas, Veto Education Funding?

Districts Nearing Financial Collapse as Governor Threatens Veto

March 22, 2016, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Nearly one week after the legislature voted to send Governor Wolf a $30 billion state budget with record-high basic education funding, Wolf continues to dangle a veto threat while pushing schools closer to closure.  

The threat comes despite a plea from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) that the governor “stop holding students and schools hostage and enact a 2015-16 budget now!”

“The Commonwealth Foundation joins a chorus of educators, legislators, and taxpayers saying ‘enough is enough’,” commented president and CEO Matthew Brouillette. “Wolf has repeatedly rejected budgets with record-high education funding, driving schools close to financial collapse. Why? Because he wants higher taxes. With public opinion turning and even members of his own party voting against him, it’s clear this lone-wolf act is wearing thin. It’s time the governor prioritize Pennsylvania over his own demands and sign this budget.”

The financial crisis schools face is so dire that the Wolf administration recently sent a memo to school districts with instructions for shutting down. Not surprisingly, school administrators’ frustration is boiling over:

“This is a plague that the governor has released on public education, and it’s not necessary. We’re all going to catch the disease.” —Mark Miller, Centennial School District school director (source)

“[W]hat about our kids? A greater cause than political dogma exists here.”—C. Russell Mayo, Allentown School District superintendent (source)

  • We feel like we’re being held hostage.”— Ed Zelich, Charleroi Area School District superintendent (source)

“We continue to plea for this to be settled and move on.”—Bart Rocco, Elizabeth Forward School District superintendent (source)

“No longer can the state hold schools and students hostage to politics.”—Nathan Mains, PSBA executive director (source)

It has gone from just absurd to surreal. It’s just shameful that we are in this kind of situation.” —Fred Baldwin, Carlisle Area School Board member (source)

“As of now, [teachers] will not be paid after March 25.” —Donald MacFann, East Allegheny School District superintendent (source)

Brouillette continued:

Schools are begging for money, legislators on both sides of the aisle voted to fund education at record levels, and still Gov. Wolf is threatening ‘my way or the highway.’ This is not government that works or schools that teach. Just one obstacle stands in the way of a state budget: Governor Tom Wolf.

Matthew Brouillette and other Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Gina Diorio at 862-703-6670 or [email protected] to schedule an interview.

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