WITH SO MUCH talk about falling educational standards in our country, does it make sense for the only state in the union that has actually posted gains in students' reading and math achievement at every grade level to cut its funding for education?

That's what could happen as the state legislature juggles the prospect of paring millions from Gov. Rendell's proposed $5.9 billion education budget for 2010-11.

Facing revenue declines, school districts across the state are already taking matters into their own hands by making drastic budget cuts, reducing teachers as well as support staff and administrators, eliminating programs and increasing class sizes - three quarters of the school districts in hard-hit southeastern Pennsylvania are cutting staff.

Gov. Rendell's education budget calls for

a $354 million increase, which basically keeps spending flat if you subtract what the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials estimates is a $343 million decline in local revenues suffered by school districts since 2008-09. If Pennsylvania's students are to continue the progress they've made since the General Assembly put in place a fair-funding formula, the education budget must not be cut.

Sid Holmes

Communications Director

Public Citizens for Children and Youth

Philadelphia