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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: April 13, 2015 11:50 AM
From: Representative David S. Hickernell
To: All House members
Subject: Cosponsorship - Basic Education Continuation Funding
I am writing to invite you to cosponsor legislation I will be introducing in the near future that will provide for the payment of the basic education subsidy to school districts in cases when the appropriation is not enacted by August 15th of any fiscal year.

This is similar to legislation I introduced in 2003 (House Bill 2128) that passed the House and Senate but was vetoed by Governor Rendell.

My legislation will appropriate funding on the payment schedule provided in Section 2517(c) of the Public School Code at the previous year’s amount until such time when an appropriation is enacted. If revenue estimates for the current year are less than the actual revenue from the previous year, the funding would be reduced on a pro rata basis.

We all recognize that this coming budget is going to be a challenge. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Gov. Wolf said Tuesday that he doubts the state will enact the next fiscal year's budget by the June 30 deadline, a prediction that signaled a protracted and partisan fight building in the Capitol.

The Democratic governor, whose $29.9 billion spending plan has already sparked heated debate in the Republican-led legislature that must approve a budget, said that he would like to be hopeful, but that history had convinced him otherwise.

"I'm planning on spending the summer here," Wolf quipped in an interview with The Inquirer, adding, "And the fall, and the winter." (4/8/15)

While there will likely be a robust debate on the appropriate level of education funding, one outcome is entirely unacceptable: that our public schools receive no state funding in the event of a budget impasse.

This legislation would ensure that our schools receive the funding necessary to continue to operate without interruption or having to borrow money to keep their doors open.

It removes schools from being put in the untenable position of being a political pawn and it continues to fulfill the General Assembly’s obligation under Article III, Section 14 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania, which states that, “The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.”

Please join me in supporting this commonsense measure that ensures our schools continue to operate in the unfortunate event that there is no appropriation for basic education timely enacted.

Introduced as HB1159