Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett unveiled his budget Tuesday afternoon, and though the budget comes in at 3 percent below last year's, the steep cuts in education cannot be ignored.
Corbett proposes cutting over $800 million from the public school system, by eliminating more than $250 million in grant money, and slashing $550 million from K-12 public schools.
Additionally, state-owned universities will be facing a budget reduction of more than $625 million, which represents more than half of their previous budget.
So what does this all mean?
While Governor Corbett seems to have achieved his goal of not implementing any new taxes, all he has done is passed the buck to students and Pennsylvania residents.
In order for public schools to recoup their budget losses, Corbett advocates that school districts acquire voter approval to raise property taxes. This isn't a "new tax," but it sure as heck is a raise in taxes, as a direct result of Corbett's budget.
With the state's universities facing even more drastic cuts, I think it's safe to say they'll adjust their tuition accordingly to offset the losses. This isn't a "new tax," but it will amount to an incredible increase in education costs for college students across the Commonwealth.
In addition to the aforementioned budget cuts, Corbett also proposes taking another look at each school district's collective bargaining agreements, in an effort to slap a one-year salary freeze on all district personnel.
There are plenty of other cuts and issues which are worth debating, but I fail to see how the public is served by cutting education costs.
With all that we face on a local, state, and federal level, we're going to need our future generations to be sharp.
Universities are already claiming that freshman tend to be ill-equipped for college, so what do we do? Cut K-12 funding and ask schools to increase their tuition without increasing the education. Instead of arming our future generations with the tools needed to succeed, we'll instead hamstring them with debt and a second rate education, all in the name of budget cuts.
Education is our only saving grace. It is our only hope to rectify the abundance of social and economic issues that we face. To cut funding is to draw down Old Glory and raise a white flag.