PA School Budget Cuts Hurt Low-Income Students Most
According to a recent PSEA report, the highest funding decreases are found in the lowest-income school districts—those who are most in need of extra resources. Since the 2011 public school funding cuts of nearly $1 billion:
- The majority of Pennsylvania school districts have reduced instructional programming, increased class sizes, and are reducing or eliminating extra-curricular activities.
- Schools are dropping elective course offerings, cutting or reducing tutoring and summer school programs, and delaying the purchase of new textbooks.
- 54% of those per student cuts still remain, wracking up devastating consequences for our public school students.
Budget cuts, student poverty, and test scores: Examining the evidence looks at what’s happened in our public schools since 2011. Alarmingly, cuts to the poorest districts in PA were an average of three times greater than in the wealthiest districts. Low-income school districts rely more heavily on state funding and have less of a chance to replace those funds with local taxes. Another troublesome stat reflects the fact that the greater the poverty in a district, the larger the class sizes. As a result, the steepest declines in standardized test scores were found in districts with the highest percentages of low-income students.
Bucks and Montgomery Counties
While the number of students in Bucks and Montgomery counties has not changed significantly in the past few years, the number of students in very low-income households is increasing dramatically.
A report from Public Citizens for Children and Youth finds:
- 19,300 students in Bucks County were eligible for free and reduced-price lunches in 2012 (up 42 percent from 2008).
- 23,698 students in Montgomery County were eligible for free and reduced-price lunches in 2012 (up 45 percent from 2008).
Cuts to public education funding are doing the greatest damage to our most vulnerable students across the state and in Bucks and Montgomery counties. See how the cuts are affecting your district, what’s being done to create fair PA school funding, and what can be done to restore funding levels to where they should be.
To see how the current funding crisis will impact your district, visit: https://www.psea.org/apps/budget/budgetimpact.aspx