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 after PA Governor Josh Shapiro signed the Fiscal Year 2023-2024 state budget into law:
“We are pleased that Governor Shapiro has signed 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.
“Senate Republicans have held hostage the needs of ordinary and vulnerable Pennsylvanians for nearly a month with hopes to dismantle public education. Now, they have threatened to withhold funding for school mental health grants, indigent criminal defense, the Whole Home Repair program, teacher stipends, and increases to the 100 poorest school districts in the Commonwealth. This is a shameful temper tantrum from Senate Republicans.
“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.”