Corbett Calls Pa. Public School Funding Unfair
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Gov. Tom Corbett said Wednesday that Pennsylvania’s system of school funding should be changed, calling for “a true funding system” that would be fair to all schools.
The governor expressed interest in a bill passed by the state House last week that would set up a commission to develop a formula to distribute money for K-12 education. The bill is pending in the Senate.
“Let’s get a true, fair funding system of all the schools of Pennsylvania, not for one district or another,” Corbett said. “It’s not fair right now, OK? So we need to address that.”
Corbett took questions after announcing he will propose a $2.2 million increase in the state’s funding for domestic violence and rape crisis centers. He will lay out his spending proposal for the fiscal year that starts July 1 during a budget address in less than two weeks.
Corbett is seeking re-election this year, and his handling of education funding has emerged as a major campaign issue.
“The state is looked at as a source of revenue on a regular basis,” he said during the Capitol news conference. “Yet the state has no role in negotiating how the money is going to be spent. I have a little problem with that, but I don’t know that we’re ever going to change that.”
Last week, he canceled what would have been his first visit to a Philadelphia public school, saying at the last minute that he expected protests that would be a distraction for students. He said Wednesday he “absolutely” planned to visit a city school, and bristled at a suggestion that he skipped out on Central High School on Friday.
“I did not skip out,” Corbett said. “We chose not to give a number of people a stage for their own purposes, to the distraction of the schoolwork of the students in that building that day.”
Asked about a state judge’s decision last week to throw out a law requiring voters to show photo identification _ a law he supported and enacted with the support of fellow Republicans in the Legislature _ he said his lawyers are likely to file posttrial motions, and an appeal may follow.
The judge said the photo ID mandate was unconstitutional because it did not require that such an ID be convenient and available to voters. The judge also said that during the trial, Corbett’s legal team did not demonstrate any evidence of in-person voter fraud that might justify the mandate.
Corbett said he was not surprised by the ruling but did not agree with it.
“Lawyers can disagree on everything,” said Corbett, a lawyer who has been a federal prosecutor and state attorney general. “I view that the law was constitutional.”