Education advocates sound off on governor's budget plan

Posted: 7:00 PM EST Feb 05, 2013   Updated: 5:31 AM EST Feb 06, 2013

Governor Tom Corbett laid out his budget plan Tuesday in Harrisburg. In the past, he was known for making cuts to education. Instead, he was proposing an increase to basic education.

But not everyone in the education community was satisfied.

"We will be putting a record amount of state funding into basic education: $5.5 billion starting with early childhood programs and going all the way through grade 12," said Corbett.

The governor pointed out that one-time federal stimulus dollars are gone and his education proposal is a $90 million increase compared to the current budget.

But the president of the teacher's union in Reading, Bryan Sanguinito said while he was happy to hear the governor address early childhood education, Corbett needs to do more.

"Under his leadership, a billion dollars a year has been decimated from public education and what he is proposing does little if anything to help our schools recover from the damage he's done, especially in a district here like Reading," said Sanguinito.

For the first time in a budget address, the governor was touting education spending.

"Governor Corbett created this problem and now because an election is coming up in 2014, he's trying to get into the good graces of the people of Pennsylvania," said Sanguinito.

The governor invited presidents from state colleges to his address.

"Our message to our college students today is that both my administration and the leaders of your state and state-related schools are committed to making the dream of higher education attainable," said Corbett.

The governor said higher education funding would remain the same, but Nick Imbesi, a Kutztown University junior, questioned how that helps students who are dropping out because of the current cost.

"That does not address that problem which we already have-- which is students across this campus and 13 other state campuses cannot afford our tuition," said Imbesi.

Corbett did ask university presidents to commit to hold down costs. But Imbesi said promising and doing are two different things.