The PA State Budget and You (Editorial)

Could the recently passed State Budget impact your education?


Kaitlyn Hankard

Will the state budget that has finally been passed help or hurt PA school districts?

Recently, Tom Wolf decided to allow the passage of the 3-billion dollar State Budget plan, after months of contentious fighting with the GOP However, rather than directly sign it into law, he purposely allowed it to sit on his desk until it automatically became law, in a political move that Civics and AP Government students will recognize as a “pocket veto.”

Thus, this previous Monday, at 12:01 AM, it passed into law automatically. While this is likely no the end of fighting between the Democratic Governor and the largely Republican Legislature, it will finally bring this fiscal year to a semi-amicable close.

However, here is something of an un-silver lining to this story: school budgets.

At first, the news may seem good: school budgets have been on hold these past few months, creating a veritable financial nightmare for school administrators and local bureaucrats. They will finally recieve a long-needed cash infusion, to keep them chugging along and from falling into utter collapse, claim certain Republican lawmakers.

Governor Wolf, though he has ultimately submitted to this new budget, intentionally delayed it as long as possible. This was a move to allow school districts to recover from the budget cuts suffered during the previous Republican administration. House and Senate Republicans, on the other hand, have argued that this does not accomplish that– rather, they say it puts $150 million on hold to school districts. By having vetoed the budget (in not signing it into law), he has created “significant problems” for various school districts, according to Senator Joe Scarnati.

This new budget has also proven a failure for several of the Governor’s campaign promises, including a $400 million investment he had hoped for public schools.

This budget situation has a profound impact on you, and your school. Take the arts. It seems that, across the nation, art programs are perpetually underfunded and on the threshold of being disbanded. While a smaller budget may ease up the burden on taxpayer wallets, it may come at the cost of a teacher’s career, and a student’s learning experience. While the arts may not have much practical utility (thus making them first-up on the chopping block), they are enormously useful in our collective cognitive development.

Related: The Importance of the Arts (Editorial)

This doesn’t just go for the arts: funding cuts can spell disaster for any number of courses or teachers in need of new supplies or teaching-aids.

But, at the same time, this provides schools with the funds they need now, which can make all the difference in the world. It may well be better to receive some funding, even if it is smaller than originally anticipated, if it means this budget battle won’t drag out for another year and deprive schools of any funding at all.

Only time will tell if this budget is suitable for the needs of Pennsylvania’s student body.

Disclaimer: Articles designated as “Editorial” represent the views and opinions of the author, not the 2015-2016 Periscope staff, CHS Administration, or the CHS student body.