School districts like the one here in Warren County can take a deep breath following the enactment of the 2012-13 state budget last week.
They will need the oxygen, because while the legislature restored some money Gov. Corbett had axed, the coming fiscal year will still be extremely lean for education. Specifically, the legislature put back in money for kindergarten through the Accountability Block Grant (about $100 million) and a few million more to keep some particularly strapped districts afloat.
Generally, none of the teachers who were furloughed across the state a year ago are going back to work, at least not in Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, the budget cuts spending on child care programs for low-income working families, eliminates cash assistance for a slice of the state's welfare recipients, cuts funding for county-provided human services and cuts funding for environmental protection.
What that means is that county governments will be faced with more meager budgets, which raises the specter of higher local taxes.
Nevertheless, we are told by the governor's office and by those loyalists in the General Assembly that all is well and that the $288 million reduction in business taxes are just what the doctor ordered to get the state's economy chugging in the right direction. We'll be watching over the next year for an increase in job growth related to that tax reduction.
Still, we would like to ongratulate the legislature for its concern and compassion toward public education in the face of pressure from the governor to withhold the extra revenue from where it is needed most.