HARRISBURG – State Sen. David G. Argall (R-29) on Thursday announced the General Assembly has released $50 million of its reserve account to restore funding for public schools.
"After hearing from many different taxpayers at numerous town hall meetings throughout all of the six counties I represent, I am pleased to say we listened to their message and are releasing $50 million from the General Assembly reserve account to offset cuts to education," Argall said.
"In the midst of this difficult economy, we must look for savings in all government agencies, including the House and the Senate. In addition to moving the $50 million to the educational needs of our children, the Senate has now reduced its total budget by twelve percent over the past six years. As one local example, we have lost three staff members in my office, which I have not replaced. Many other Senators have made the same decision," he said.
"The Pennsylvania Accountability Block Grant Program will receive a total of $100 million as part of the budget package approved by the General Assembly this week. The Governor matched our funds with unanticipated revenues in tax collections from the past three months. The program ensures that taxpayer dollars are focused on initiatives that are most likely to improve student achievement, including early childhood education.
"This program gives school districts the flexibility to use tax dollars for targeted programs that fit the individual needs of their students," Argall said. "Our local students have benefited from this program in the past, and I am thankful this funding will continue to offer education opportunities to our young people."
Argall recently co-sponsored legislation to return current and future legislative account surpluses to the general fund. These surpluses are generated by unused appropriations for the General Assembly budget. The Senate of Pennsylvania, for example, has cut its own appropriation from $108 million to $93 million over the past six years.
"We can lead by example by reducing the number of dollars appropriated for the General Assembly and, instead, move it to improve our children's education," Argall said.