|Posted:||February 7, 2017 04:17 PM|
|From:||Representative David S. Hickernell|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||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 a General Appropriation Act providing for a basic education subsidy appropriation is not enacted by August 15 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, and similar to legislation I introduced in 2015 (House Bill 1159) that was reported from the Education Committee in May 2016 but did not receive further consideration.
My legislation will appropriate funding to the Department of Education and require payments to school districts in amounts and at times necessary to comply with the payment schedule provided in Section 2517(c) of the Public School Code. Such appropriation and payments will be at the previous year’s amounts 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 will be reduced on a pro rata basis.
The 2015-2016 budget impasse, which took almost nine months to be resolved, took a significant toll on our school districts. While districts fortunate enough to hold reserve funds drew down those funds, those districts without such resources were forced to borrow, incurring interest and fees. Nearly all school districts were compelled to delay, scale back or eliminate entirely expenditures necessary to meet needs related to student instruction, student services or building maintenance. Although we all hope for, and will work diligently toward, a timely budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, we also recognize that the prospect of future budget impasses is very real.
This legislation will ensure that, in the event of another impasse, 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.
Previous Cosponosrs: HICKERNELL, SAYLOR, CUTLER, OBERLANDER, BAKER,
BLOOM, DRISCOLL, FEE, GODSHALL, GREINER, PHILLIPS-HILL, KAUFFMAN,
M. K. KELLER, MENTZER, MILLARD, B. MILLER, MURT, PICKETT, RAPP, READSHAW, TOEPEL, TOPPER, WATSON, ZIMMERMAN AND GILLEN
Introduced as HB648