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Rendell on funding public education: ‘I will dramatically increase state aid.’

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

The Pennsylvania Public Education Partnership (PA PEP) submitted a questionnaire on key education issues to the candidates for governor during last year’s campaign. These are excerpts from responses received from then-candidate Ed Rendell.

  • As Governor, I will dramatically increase state aid to local districts while maintaining local curriculum control. This revenue will be generated through ferreting out government waste and inefficiencies, the placement of slot machines at existing Pennsylvania racetracks, and a doubling of the user’s fee on cigarettes.
  • As Governor, my goal is to raise state funding to over 50 percent of the costs of instructional education in our 501 school districts.
  • Additional revenues and cost-savings that I plan to pursue as Governor will help reduce local property taxes, while significantly increasing the state’s share of education funding as well as produce funds for my early childhood education initiative. That initiative consists of my education priorities — moving to universal pre-school for 4-year-olds, expanding full-day kindergarten to all Pennsylvania children, smaller classes in grades K-3, and improving school safety.
  • We must not lose sight of what was the real issue behind the Education Empowerment Act — the provision of fair and equal funding for all of Pennsylvania’s schools. In 2000, fully one-third I am committed to ending the over-reliance on property taxes to fund our schools. Only by breaking this pattern of underfunding our schools can we provide the quality education every Pennsylvania child deserves. of all Pennsylvania school districts ran a deficit and the percentage of state funding for schools has declined from 54 percent in 1970 to just over 37 percent today.
  • I am committed to ending the over-reliance on property taxes to fund our schools. Only by breaking this pattern of underfunding our schools can we provide the quality education every Pennsylvania child deserves.

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