Public School Budgets Still on the Chopping Block in 2012-2013 PA Budget
Tell your legislators to fully fund public schools
Last year, Gov. Corbett and the legislature cut $860 million from Pennsylvania public schools. In his proposed 2012-2013 budget, Corbett calls for even more cuts. Despite attempts by the governor to use accounting tricks and complicated financial games to make it look like funding is increasing, the proposal actually removes another $100 million from public schools. These cuts would bring the total amount of school budget reductions, since Corbett took office, to nearly $1 billion in the upcoming fiscal year.
Not only are dollars being cut for public schools, but the administration, through Senate Bill 1, would like to further reduce the available funds by taking money from that same public school budget to fund charter schools, including for-profit charters that haven’t been successful. This fact was confirmed in a study conducted at Stanford University and published in April 2011 showing that “students in Pennsylvania charter schools on average make smaller learning gains” than they would have if they’d stayed in traditional public school classrooms.
According to PSEA President Mike Crossey, school districts across the state have already cut programs and staff. In the wake of these proposals, public schools will be forced to raise taxes or cut even more. A study released by the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators and the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials in September, 2011 indicated that as a result of the 2011-2012 budget cuts:
• 70 percent of school districts increased class sizes.
• 44 percent of school districts reduced course offerings.
• 35 percent of school districts reduced or eliminated tutoring programs.
• 14,159 school district positions were eliminated or left vacant.
“This proposal is an unwise experiment with the education of 1.8 million public school students,” said Crossey. “It leaves school officials and property taxpayers to figure out how to close a two-year, nearly $1 billion funding gap.” Crossey continues, "For the second year in a row, the governor wants to reverse course on smart public school investments that work for our students. So far, his public education track record is all about cutting effective programs.”
See how these new proposed cuts would affect your local schools.