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Corbett signs 2013-14 state budget

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 30 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 01 2013 01:29:22 PM CDT

PA Budget heads to Governor Corbett's office

HARRISBURG, Pa. -

It's official: Pennsylvania's 2013-14 budget is in the books.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed the budget just after 10 p.m. Sunday.

After getting approval from the Senate Sunday afternoon, the budget passed the House right before 9 p.m.  It was down to the wire again, but the budget did pass in time.

It's a $28.4 billion spending plan that includes a more than a $100 million increase in education funding.

"A significant increase in investment in education," said Pa. Sen. Pat Browne, D-Lehigh Co.

Some of that money will be heading to the Lehigh Valley to help one local school district that's been hurting.

"Working together we were able to bring home an extra $9.6 million to the Allentown School District," explained Pa. Rep. Mike Schlossberg.

The struggling district has cut 20 percent of the teaching staff over the last several years.  Just this week, the Allentown School Board passed a budget that chops more than 100 teachers and raises taxes by 8.2 percent. It pulled about $10 million out of the district's reserve to prevent taxes from going even higher. The district can certainly use an extra $9.6 million.

"It gives the school district the opportunity to bring some teachers back, to replenish some of their reserve savings, and to cut the tax hike," added Schlossberg.

Securing the extra cash is something Schlossberg and Browne say they've made a priority.

"It reflects, I think, a long term commitment by the assembly toward the needs to Allentown," shared Browne.  "Over the last 12 years they've been number one in the state in new funding of all the school districts."

What the Allentown School District does with the extra funds will be up to district leaders and the board.

While the House and Senate did passed a state budget, action has stalled on a liquor privatization bill, and a transportation funding bill.