Wednesday, February 24, 2010

PA Education Official Defends Higher Budget

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s proposed budget for 2010-11 is roughly a billion dollars more than the state’s current spending plan.
About a third of that increase would go toward more state funding for public education.
The Rendell Administration is maintaining its commitment to increasing the state’s basic education subsidy. The governor wants to boost state support for school districts by 354 million dollars, to more than 5.8 billion.
Deputy Education Secretary Diane Castelbuono testified before the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday and said increased schools funding has yielded results.

"We have 560-thousand students -- more students who have benefited from increased learning time, tutoring, extended day opportunities. That’s half a million students. We have 406-thousand students that are in new and advanced courses that were paid for with the basic education funding."

Castelbuono says the state has set out strict guidelines for how districts utilize the funding.

"We said for those districts that are receiving money above the index, they’re going to need to write a plan about how they are going to spend that money. And they’re only allowed to spend that money on certain proven practices that are shown to increase student achievement. Proven practices like increased learning time, reduced class size, early childhood education."

Rendell’s proposed basic education subsidy would spend about 5.2 billion dollars in state funds, along with 654 million federal stimulus dollars.

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