Gov. Wolf says he will not allow funds to go toward struggling school districts until budget is passed
October 20, 2015 1:07 PM
Marc Levy/Associated Press
Gov. Tom Wolf says he will not authorize releasing funds to individual school districts until a full state budget is passed.
By Ed Blazina / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Gov. Tom Wolf said this morning that he will not authorize the state Department of Education to release funds to individual school districts that claim a hardship during the state budget stalemate.
Speaking at the opening of the new Hulton Bridge between Oakmont and Harmar, Mr. Wolf said he met with officials from the Erie school district on Monday. The district had asked the state treasury for an advance on its state subsidy, but treasury officials said they needed authorization from the Department of Education to release any money.
Mr. Wolf said he understands the struggles that school districts and nonprofit social service agencies are having during the three-month budget battle, but he won't authorize individual payments to them until a full budget is passed. The Democratic governor is at loggerheads with Republicans who control both houses of the Legislature and don't support his call for tax increases to resolve what he considers chronic revenue shortfalls in the budget.
"It's a problem. I understand that," Mr. Wolf said of funding for schools and nonprofits. "I'm holding out for a budget that's realistic. We are trying to do what's right in the long run."
Mr. Wolf’s office issued a statement later in the day that said he was working on a plan to have the state treasury guarantee loans for school districts and enable them to obtain lower interest rates on the loans.
The statement also said he supports an appropriation in the final budget that would reimburse districts for any interest accrued on loans taken out as a result of the impasse.
Ed Blazina: email@example.com or 413-263-1470.
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