HARRISBURG – Rep. Justin Walsh (R-Westmoreland) today expressed opposition to a plan by Gov. Tom Wolf to modify the way state funding is distributed to public schools.
At an event in Philadelphia at the end of June, the governor announced that he wants to distribute 100 percent of the state’s Basic Education Funding through the revised Basic Education formula. Currently, only new money added since 2015-16 is allocated this way. The current method protects slow or no-growth school districts and uses a funding year baseline that prevents school districts from being penalized financially for declining enrollment.
“I’m not sure the governor thought this idea through,” Walsh said. “If the governor’s proposal is implemented, 357 of the state’s 500 public school districts would see moderate to significant state funding cuts, including most districts in Westmoreland County. This is not equitable or acceptable. Interestingly, one of the biggest winners under his proposal is Philadelphia, which would receive a $344 million increase.”
House Appropriations Committee data shows schools within the 58th Legislative District would see proposed decreases of:
• Belle Vernon Area – 51 percent or just over $5 million.
• Hempfield Area – 33 percent or just under $6 million.
• Jeannette City – 44 percent or just over $3.6 million.
• Monessen City – 44 percent or just over $2.7 million.
• Mount Pleasant Area – 46 percent or just over $4.2 million.
• Southmoreland – 47 percent or just over $4.6 million.
• Yough – 49 percent or just over $4.8 million.
“I am committed to working against this proposal,” Walsh said. “Our teachers already face a difficult job working to support all levels of learning in one classroom. This plan would result in many losing their jobs and larger class sizes for those remaining, thus making their work even more challenging. Every child has only one chance at an education. We need to do all we can to ensure it is the best available. Finally, taxpayers would face higher property taxes, which would further burden homeowners. This plan harms everyone.”
I will not allow our schools to face such draconian cuts that would hurt our schools, taxpayers and educational opportunities. Every child has only one chance at an education. We need to do all we can to ensure it is the best available.”
The 58th Legislative District in Westmoreland County includes Jeannette and Monessen cities, as well as East Huntingdon (part), Hempfield (part), Rostraver, Sewickley and South Huntingdon townships. Also, the district encompasses the boroughs of Adamsburg, Arona, Madison, Mount Pleasant, North Belle Vernon, Penn, Smithton, Sutersville and West Newton.
Representative Justin Walsh
58th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tracy Polovick