Plymouth Meeting, PA— On behalf of its 36,000 members and 64 locals, Arthur G. Steinberg, President of AFT Pennsylvania on Friday issued a statement in response to the passage of the Fiscal Year 22-23 Pennsylvania Budget.
“The budget passed more than a week after the start of the fiscal year by the PA House and Senate provides welcome increases in basic education, special education, community colleges, and state college and university funding, but far from the figures proposed by Governor Wolf. At a time when our Commonwealth holds a more than $13 billion surplus, it is inexcusable not to make the long-overdue investments in Pennsylvania’s future.
“Additionally, this budget, and especially the accompanying education code bill provide an astonishing $395 million in tax breaks to wealthy individuals and corporations; a 41% increase! This means $395 million taken from future K-12 public education funding—particularly at a time when students are struggling to recover from the pandemic and those who have the least need more supports.
“Finally, it is deeply disappointing, while shoveling so much money out the door to private, for-profit, and religious institutions, that this budget package does nothing to reform or create accountability for those schools which would put them on even a fraction of the level of scrutiny to which traditional public schools are subject.
“It’s worth praising an increase in public education spending, but we have so much further to go to ensure an equal education for every child in Pennsylvania.”