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James Paul, a Senior Policy Analyst at The Commonwealth Foundation, criticized Governor Tom Wolf’s handling of Pennsylvania’s budget crisis after the commonwealth’s Department of Education issued guidelines for school districts on closing if they run out of money.

Paul, while talking with Talk Radio 1210 WPHT’s Dom Giordano, said the Governor needs to stop playing politics with Pennsylvania’s school funding.

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“The Wolf administration is still looking at the budget negotiations from a fiercely political viewpoint. The Governor has made it clear that he will use public schools as political pawns in an effort to advance his agenda. Let’s not forget that it was Governor Wolf who vetoed $3 billion in education spending as a means to force Republicans to the negotiating table. If the Governor wanted to, he could release that money in a matter of days, but he’s choosing politics over problem solving.”

He insisted the crisis is not necessary and Governor Wolf has access to funds that can pay for what the school districts need.

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“If this money were to be released, no district would be on the verge of shutdown. Instead, he’s issued these instructions as a result of school districts across the commonwealth not having access to a big chunk of their state funding.”

Paul stated many districts are in real financial danger because of this showdown over the budget.

“It’s definitely a real problem for many school districts in Pennsylvania, many that are reliant in state funding. There are a number of our 500 districts that are able to get by raising taxes locally. There are many that have had to borrow money to fill the gap. But for the school districts that are reliant on state funding, this is a very serious problem. Every day that the Governor continues to play politics, the financial situation gets darker and darker.”

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