Gov. Tom Corbett's top education official is defending the administration's plan for funding Pennsylvania's schools in the next fiscal year.

 

But the administration is finding it hard to persuade Democrats who, for years, have hammered the governor for not spending as much as they'd like on education.

Corbett's latest proposal to boost education funding for certain programs and with a new block grant hasn't led to a ceasefire.

Rep. Joe Markosek, ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said he has problems with the proposed $240 million block grant for schools.

"I'd much rather see an increase in the basic education subsidy which would give school districts more flexibility in how best to direct those sources," he said Tuesday.

The plan was developed with feedback from schools and is designed to help them achieve academic gains, said acting education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq.

Flexibility, as well as ways to waive certain requirements, are built in, she said during a budget hearing.

The state's largest teachers union and advocates at the Education Law Center have called the block grant overly prescriptive.