Included in the 2014-2015 budget was $200 million in additional funding for schools. The budget also included language that required “enabling” legislation to spell out how the new funds would be distributed. That enabling legislation was the “Fiscal Code”, which the governor vetoed. In other words, Governor Wolf is breaking the law in spending the money.
Adding insult to injury, the Governor is spending the money according to a formula he essentially made up on his own without input from the legislature. The Fiscal Code included changes recommended by a bipartisan education funding reform commission. Governor Wolf ignored those recommendations in determining how he was going to distribute the funds illegally.
The Harrisburg Patriot-News highlighted some of the discrepancies between the Governor’s distribution and the distribution spelled out in the vetoed Fiscal Code:
“Philadelphia’s share of the $200 million in new education funding is $76.8 million – a full 38 percent – under the restoration formula, wheras [sic] under the bi-partisan-backed formula, it would have received $42.4 million.
“Pittsburgh receives $7.5 million under the governor’s formula; $3.1 million under the one lawmakers would prefer be used. Chester-Upland receives $16.3 million under the restoration formula compared to $2 million under the other distribution system. ”
The changes in those three school districts’ funding levels under Wolf’s illegal plan, consume over $53 million in funding designated for other schools. The Governor’s decision to redirect a quarter of the new money to three schools districts, without legislative authorization, is one more example of Wolf’s “my way or the highway” approach to governing.
It is worth noting that according to the news article mentioned about, the legislature is looking into taking legal actions against the Governor to stop his latest executive overreach.