News Column

Online School Funding Calculator Shows Classroom Cuts Continue to Take a Toll

July 17, 2014



HARRISBURG, Pa., July 17 -- The Pennsylvania State Education Association issued the following news release:

Public school classrooms across Pennsylvania are still receiving hundreds of millions of dollars less in school funding than they did three years ago, as demonstrated by an online school cuts calculator created by the state's largest school employee union.

The calculator, updated with 2014-15 budget figures, shows district by district how much support for local schools has dropped since Gov. Tom Corbett took office and slashed nearly $1 billion in education funding. The calculator is available at www.psea.org/schoolcuts.

"Gov. Corbett's school funding cuts have caused a school funding crisis in Pennsylvania," said Michael Crossey, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association. "Class sizes have increased, and students are missing out on academic opportunities. Our calculator shows just how much each district has lost and how much work remains to get our schools back on track."

Crossey pointed out that Gov. Corbett's unprecedented school funding cuts are also forcing property tax increases.

"The governor is trying to use rising property taxes to promote his flawed pension plan," Crossey said. "The truth is school districts have found it harder and harder to pay their bills because of the governor's unprecedented cuts to education. The governor's pension proposal will save school districts nothing in the short term and nearly nothing in the long term."

Gov. Corbett's school funding cuts have taken a toll in districts across the Commonwealth. Nearly 800 academic programs have been eliminated or reduced since 2010-11, and class sizes have increased in 64 percent of districts, according to a school survey by the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators and Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials.

Despite the governor's refusal to raise new revenue to fill the funding hole he created for schools, state legislators found a way to increase education funding modestly in the 2014-15 budget.

Still, much more needs to be done to allow districts to restore programs that work for students and replace the more than 20,000 jobs that have been cut over the past three years, Crossey said, especially in the state's poorest school districts, which have borne the brunt of Gov. Corbett's school funding cuts.

"Gov. Corbett could have reversed these cuts and put our schools back on track, but instead he chose to play politics with the budget," Crossey said. "As a result, students and taxpayers will continue to pay a steep price."

Crossey was a special education teacher in the Keystone Oaks School District. An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents approximately 180,000 future, active, and retired teachers and school employees, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.

[Category: Union]

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