FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Ronald G. Waters
State Rep. Cherelle L. Parker
Philadelphia legislators hear community briefings on proposed budget
PHILADELPHIA, April 19 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and the Philadelphia Delegation of the state House of Representatives met Wednesday for a budget briefing on Gov. Corbett's proposed 2012-13 state budget.
"The meeting was informative but not surprising," said Rep. Ron Waters, D-Phila./Delaware. Waters chairs the PLBC. "Public schools suffered a billion-dollar cut last year. Those cuts, which devastated district budgets have not been restored. School districts survived by draining their emergency funds such as surplus and rainy day funds.
"The school districts through no fault of their own will need to do without. That means that our students will need to do without, their parents will have to do without, and our communities will suffer.
"This budget proposal will just increase the pressure on their budgets," Waters said. "I can guarantee the majority of our school districts will be facing cuts in programs, teacher layoffs or tax increases, and every family with a student in public schools will be affected. We will see more school districts, like Chester Upland, facing closures."
"Governor Corbett also proposed cutting funding for state-owned universities, such as Cheyney and West Chester, by 20 percent, and state-related universities, including Temple, by 30 percent," said Rep. Cherelle L. Parker, D-Phila. "That comes on the heels of budget cuts that that forced state-owned universities to increase tuition by 7.5 percent for this school year." Parker chairs the House Philadelphia Delegation.
"Although there are no proposed cuts to Lincoln University this year, it is still reeling from the 24 percent cut in state funding it faced this past year," Parker said. "Community colleges were cut another 5 percent, as were PHEAA grants.
"He is going after the most vulnerable in our society, with his attacks on women, children, seniors, veterans and individuals with disabilities. The governor is taking giant backward steps in the funding of education at all levels. If we do not provide our schools with adequate resources, we will face low academic outcomes, unemployment, higher crime rates and fiscal instability. Investing in our schools is an investment in the future of our communities," Parker said.
In addition to Waters and Parker, state Reps. Vanessa Lowery Brown, Michelle Brownlee, Maria Donatucci, Mike O'Brien, and Tony Payton, all D-Phila., and Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, participated.
The briefing was presented by the Education Law Center, Public Citizens for Children and Youth and the Philadelphia Student Union, and the discussion covered four areas of concern: education budget cuts, fiscally distressed school districts, health and human services budget cuts, and the effects of property taxes.