March 7, 2023
In response to Governor Shapiro's first budget address, PFT President Jerry Jordan issued the following statement:
PHILADELPHIA--"I congratulate Governor Shapiro on delivering a thoughtful budget address that outlines a host of investments in critical resources. Specifically, we are hopeful that the urgency Governor Shapiro conveyed surrounding our Commonwealth's constitutional and moral obligation to provide every child with a 'thorough and efficient' system of public education was recognized and taken to heart by legislators throughout the Commonwealth.
"While we continue to look at the specific allocations for public education, we certainly recognize the significance of Governor Shapiro's initial proposal of over $1B in investment in pre-k through 12 public education this year.
"I urge the legislature to fully fund a system of public education that has been underfunded for decades. We can and must implement a bold investment, and I urge the legislature to take seriously the proposals put forth by both Governor Shapiro and Senator Hughes.
"I could not agree with Governor Shapiro more when he said that Judge Renée Cohn Jubelirer's ruling in the school funding lawsuit was 'a call to action. Literally.' He is absolutely right when he said 'the court has ordered us to come up with a better system, one that passes constitutional muster.'
"It was encouraging to hear Governor Shapiro speak passionately about public education-- from pre-k programs to CTE programs for high schoolers, the Governor has outlined key investments in K12 education as well as in higher education.
"Governor Shapiro specifically outlined a half-billion dollar investment in school facilities over the next five years that will serve as an important step in addressing our ongoing facilities crisis. This is an issue that the PFT, in partnership with the more than 70 members of our Fund Our Facilities Coalition, has championed. Governor Shapiro also outlined necessary investments in mental health programs. It was also very encouraging to hear the Governor speak to the ongoing need to address a staffing crisis.
"As we continue through the budget process, I look forward to working with the Shapiro administration, the state legislature, our members, and advocates throughout the Commonwealth to ensure that the final budget is one that meets this moment and provides our students and staff the resources they need to thrive."