Corbett outlines big new school grant program

Watch report from Action News
February 4, 2014 3:36:26 PM PST
Gov. Tom Corbett says a new block grant program he wants to create for public schools is designed to ensure that children read and do math at grade level by the third grade.

The Republican governor unveiled the details of the grant program Tuesday during his budget address to lawmakers.

Corbett, who is running for re-election, says the new $340 million program also will ensure that students get the help they need in science and technology and that schools can give tailored instruction to students who need it.

The program absorbs a $100 million grant program created a decade ago. He's also proposing $20 million in new funding for special education.

To boost spending on public schools and social services without raising taxes, Corbett's counting on postponing some Medicaid and pension payments.

Overall, Corbett is proposing a $29.4 billion budget that increases spending by 3.6 percent. If enacted, it would be his biggest one-year spending increase.

A projected 4 percent increase in tax collections would be the biggest since the economy began recovering from the recession in 2009.