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?

heavy cuts to education

Usually, I only write about poetry on this blog, but I want to take some time today to address the steep cuts in education Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is proposing. You can find details about the budget by clicking here.  But basically, he wants to cut state funding in half for state-owned universities or state-affiliated universities. This constitutes a lot of major schools across the state, including Kutztown, West Chester University, Penn State, Temple, Pitt, and dozens of others.

Yes, it is true that Corbett’s budget as stands would not raise taxes, but at what cost? Is slashing education the way to go here? If he is serious about reducing the deficit, controlling spending, and not raising taxes, then why not tax the gas companies now drilling across our state?

This issue is so personal to me because I benefited from the state university system. I did my undergraduate work at West Chester University and had a stellar education. My class sizes, especially my creative writing courses, were no larger than 15-20 students. Furthermore, I was able to attend college because as a kid from a middle-class family, the state schools were my best options in terms of affordability. I am greatly concerned that if this budget passes as is, it will lead to a spike in class sizes  and in tuition. It will cut down on the one-on-one time students can have with instructors, and it will also make college far less attainable for low-income and middle-class families.

There is a letter writing campaign going on now to dissuade those in Harrisburg from passing this budget as is. I wrote a letter to Gov. Corbett last night. His contact info can be found by clicking here.