Thursday, July 30, 2015

Online calculator tallies up school funding cuts

Wonder how much your school district has lost since Gov. Corbett took office last year?

Online calculator tallies up school funding cuts

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Wonder how much your school district has lost since Gov. Corbett took office last year?

The state's largest teacher's union has created an online calculator that breaks down the cuts across 500 school districts.

Using figures from the Department of Education, the Pennsylvania State Education Association looks at funding fluctuations over the past two fiscal years.

“Pennsylvanians need to understand the harm Gov. Corbett’s massive budget cuts have inflicted on students across the Commonwealth,” said PSEA president Michael Crossey. “When you see these cuts in black and white, you understand that our students can’t afford another year of devastating cuts.”

Crossey said that the governor’s fiscal year 2012-13 budget proposal uses an accounting gimmick, combining appropriations for non-instructional costs such as employee Social Security contributions and transportation, in an attempt to create the appearance of an increase in the state’s basic education subsidy to public schools.

A closer look, he said, shows the governor’s proposal to eliminate the accountability block grant program, which has funded effective, proven programs like full-day kindergarten, pre-kindergarten, and class size reduction initiatives since 2004, means that school districts will lose another $100 million in state support this year.

PSEA spokesman Wythe Keever said analysts looked at the following line items:

 --Basic Education funding

--Accountability Block Grants (counting the $100 million added by the legislature last year.)

--School Improvement Grants

--Education Assistance Program

--Reimbursement for payments to Charter Schools

--Dual enrollment

--High school reform

The House Democratic Appropriations Committee has done its own education funding analysis. It is available here.

 

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Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.



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