FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, July 6, 2023
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
AFT PA PRESIDENT ARTHUR STEINBERG STATEMENT ON FINAL PENNSYLVANIA FY23-24 BUDGET
Plymouth Meeting, PA– Arthur Steinberg, President of AFT Pennsylvania, issued the following statement on behalf of the more than 36,000 educators, paraprofessionals, school staff, higher education faculty, and state workers represented by AFT Pennsylvania after PA Governor Josh Shapiro committed to signing the Fiscal Year 2023-2024 state budget into law:
“We are pleased that the House has passed, and Governor Shapiro has committed to sign, a budget that does not include vouchers.
“We are grateful to the Democratic Majority in the House and Democrats in the Senate who stood firm against pressure to hand out public money to private schools and wealthy Pennsylvanians in the form of private school vouchers. And while we are satisfied that Governor Shapiro will use the line-item veto to strike the $100 million in vouchers from the budget bill, we remain disappointed that they were in the budget to begin with.
“In the end, Senate Republicans held hostage the needs of ordinary and vulnerable Pennsylvanians in return for taking steps to dismantle public education in the Commonwealth. While that in itself is gross, what’s just as bad was forcing life-long public school advocates to choose between voting for a budget with private school vouchers or putting the services relied on by the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians at risk in a protracted budget fight. We understand the difficult choice many members made in voting for this budget against their conscience, and we are glad to be moving on.
“Now, it’s past time that legislators and the Governor turn their attention toward fulfilling their constitutional obligation to provide all students with a thorough and efficient public education by investing more in improving school facilities, funding mental health programs, and ensuring that we invest in programs like pre-K and Head Start which are actually proven programs in childhood development. Private school vouchers are proven to make the kids that use them worse off and are not a solution that should be included in this or any future budget.”