This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
The Notebook conducted a survey of the entire 35-member Philadelphia delegation of the Pennsylvania state legislature, asking for their views on Governor Rendell’s proposals. Nine legislators completed the survey.
Responses indicated that while lawmakers are open to the Rendell plan, many still have questions. Some of the legislators who did not respond said they were sympathetic to the ideas in the plan but had concerns about how the Rendell education plan would be financed and what to do about restoring state budget cuts that have been projected in other areas.
Highlights of the legislators’ responses appear below.
Favor increasing state share of education spending to about 50 percent of the total: Curry, Fumo, Kitchen, James, Josephs, Roebuck, Washington, Youngblood.
Favor instituting all-day kindergarten, reducing class size to 17 students in grades K-3, additional training for teachers in the poorest districts, and expansion of preschool for children in the poorest districts: Curry, Fumo, Kitchen, James, Josephs, Roebuck, Washington, Youngblood.
Favor increased revenue sources: three respondents — Roebuck, James, Fumo — support all of the proposed revenue sources (increased personal income tax, closing corporate loopholes, slot machines, increased beer tax, telecommunications tax, reckless driving surcharge). No legislator expressed opposition to any of the proposals; however, some lawmakers were undecided about some of the proposed sources of funding.