More Cuts to Education in PA

A few weeks ago, I posted on here about PA Gov. Tom Corbett’s plan to slash education even more, especially to state universities and state-affiliated university. As I write this, the governor is delivering his budget speech before the General Assembly in Harrisburg. But most papers across the state have already run articles today outlining what’s in his budget, and it’s not good for education. According to an article in the Scranton Times, Corbett plans to slash funding to state universities (West Chester, Kutztown, East Stroudsburg, etc) by 20 percent, and for some state-affiliated universities, the proposed cuts are even worse. The article states he wants to slash funding to Penn State, Temple, and the University of Pittsburgh by about 30 percent. The article also points out that PSU will now have only half of the funding it had in 2010-2011, the last year of former Gov. Ed Rendell’s budget.

Some other highlights of the proposed budget include the loss of about $8 million in funding to community colleges, about a 5 percent cut in funding to public libraries, and deep cuts to the Department of Public Welfare. Corbett thought that there would be a greater budget surplus at the end of the year, but there hasn’t been. So he’s using that to justify the proposed cuts. However, there are ways to prevent these steep cuts, including raising taxes on the wealthiest who can afford to pay a little more or creating a tax on the gas companies.

The budget still has to get approval from the state House and Senate. Last year, they somewhat reduced his proposed cuts to education, though not by much. The best way to influence the outcome of the budget is to contact your local state rep. and state senator and let him or her know you oppose these cuts. Our community services across the state and funding to schools have been cut so much. How can we afford even more of this?

More Proposed Budget Cuts to Education

Last year, Pennsylvania’s Republican Governor, Tom Corbett, drew ire and protest when he proposed and succeeded in passing deep cuts to education, especially to the state university system. Now, Gov. Corbett is proposing more cuts to education, this time about $20 million to the State System of Higher Education. A history professor at East Stroudsburg University had an editorial published yesterday in the The Morning Call newspaper, which covers the Lehigh Valley, about what impact these budget cuts have at state universities. Read it here.

The writer and professor, Shannon Frystack, points out that cuts to education lead to higher class sizes, cuts to courses that are planned to run, and dissatisfaction among students. She writes, “The most recent cuts have forced my university, as well as others in the state system, to increase class sizes and cut courses that did not meet, what I believe to be, unreasonable minimum numbers of students.” She goes on to say, “Many students have expressed to me that they are feeling ‘lost in the shuffle’ and that they were told that if they came to ESU, they would have smaller classes and more interaction with their professors. I’m doing the best that I can, but there is only so much I can do when I am forced to work with 150-200 students per semester.”

She also points out that the budget cuts have forced ESU and other universities to leave vacant open faculty positions.

Maybe Corbett, like a lot of other Republicans, wants to fully privatize education, doing away with the state system that makes higher education obtainable for a lot more students. I myself am a product of the state university system because I went to West Chester University for my undergrad education and had a wonderful experience and great professors. If you are concerned with this issue, let the governor know how you feel. You can contact him online by clicking here.