Pennsylvania spends an average of nearly $20,000 per student per year on education statewidebut a gubernatorial candidate said he thought it was too much.
In his bid for governor, State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, said he would like to cut public school funding by $10,000 per child and give the rest to families for their choice of public, private or home schooling.
It would be devastating for the 1.7 million students in public schools, said Pennsylvania State Education Association President Rich Askey.
“When you cut funding to schools that much,” he said, “the first thing that’s going to happen is teachers are going to be fired, curricula are going to be lost, and class sizes are going to explode. .”
Askey said the teachers’ union has asked Mastriano for more details about his proposal, but has yet to receive a response. Askey noted that increasing funding for education in recent years has been a bipartisan effort, led by Governor Tom Wolf after severe budget cuts in previous years.
Askey said he views the additional funding as recognition that supporting education is one of the most important functions of state government.
“When you fund public schools in Pennsylvania — or any state — what you’re doing is supporting the next generation,” he said, “and you’re making our state stronger at the future and moving forward, so that we can have the workforce, think tanks – we can have strong good citizens.
This month, Wolf solidified his legacy with a historic $3.7 billion budget for education, which includes a budget increase of $1.8 billion for the upcoming school year.