Education Groups Hope K-12 Funding Rises or Stays Flat in Pennsylvania

Deanna Garcia February 6, 2012

Governor Tom Corbett releases his 2012-2013 budget on Tuesday, and some education groups are hoping there are no more cuts to K-12 schools. Last year, basic education took a hit, with a $550 million reduction in funding and the end of the funding stream from the Federal Stimulus Act.

“About three quarters of school districts across the state had to make drastic cuts to their educational programming in their districts, including furloughing teachers and support staff, reducing educational program offerings, courses, electives, and many of the essentials,” said Jim Buckheit, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Schools Administrators.

The fear is that more funding reductions would cut education down to the bone.

“So beyond cutting into things like physical education and music and arts, which have already been cut, we’d now be starting to look at cutting math and science and social studies and English classes as well,” said Buckheit.

The concern is echoed by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA). Details of the governor’s upcoming budget are not available, and neither his office nor the Pennsylvania Department of Education has hinted at what’s to come.

“What we’re hoping for is that we would see some increase this year. The worst case is there’s no increase in funding, primarily because education took a big hit in last year’s budget,” said Dave Davare, director of research services for PSBA.

Still, he said the challenge comes when costs for educating the state’s children rise, while funding drops or remains flat. Buckheit said state mandates need state funding to be completed, and added that the climate is challenging, with student achievement and teacher effectiveness being tracked while resources dwindle.