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Democrats stand up for their school districts in opposing Wolf funding plan

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

Pennsylvania’s protracted budget negotiation ended nearly a month ago, but the fight continues over how $150 million in new education spending will be divided among the state’s 500 school districts.

Gov. Wolf’s plan to restore funding to districts hurt most by past cuts suffered a major blow last week. And now he faces another critical veto decision.

Wolf’s "restoration" funding plan prioritizes districts still suffering from disproportionate funding cuts under his predecessor, Gov. Tom Corbett.

Philadelphia, Chester-Upland, and Pittsburgh fare especially well in that plan, and all districts would see an increase, but the overwhelming majority of districts would get a bigger boost under the new student-weighted funding formula plan as passed by the legislature.

Wolf vetoed that last month. Last week, however, lawmakers passed it again within a larger fiscal code bill — this time with veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate.

In interviews with several Democratic state senators, one reason stood out.

"At the end of the day, it would have been difficult for any legislator to vote against their own best interests as it relates to their school districts," said John Blake, D-Lackawanna.

But there were other reasons cited as well.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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