Click here to tell Harrisburg that Pa. schools deserve a fair share of state funding.
House Democrats support investments in schools
A June 2016 joint report by the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators and Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials concludes that the depth of the commonwealth's structural school funding problems is severe and must be addressed now. Pennsylvania ranks 45th in the nation for its part in funding schools, and House Democrats support a plan to do better.
Other highlights from the report’s conclusions:
- Half of districts plan to cut valuable programs.
- 46 percent plan to cut additional staff.
- 34 percent expect class sizes to increase.
Even when asked to imagine a scenario in which a 2016-2017 budget was enacted and an additional $200 million was distributed through the basic education funding formula, the outlook of responding districts was still grim:
- 72 percent of districts report they would still need to enact planned property tax increases.
- 74 percent would still not be able to restore any staff positions. Only 2 percent could restore all positions lost since 2010.
- 77 percent of districts report they would not be able to restore any eliminated or reduced programs.
- Not one district would be able to restore all programs lost since 2010.
The right path to address school funding in PA
House Democrats are pushing for a 2016-17 budget that restores education funding.
The budget proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf and supported by House Democrats proposes that the state take its rightful share of the responsibility for funding our schools; it proposes that this investment include a reasonable share for early childhood education and higher education; and it proposes that we actually fund these investments with real and sustainable sources of revenue.
The wrong path
We all remember the devastating impact of $1 billion in state education cuts under Gov. Tom Corbett and Republican budgets in the first half of this decade. To name just a few:
- A record 135 school districts were forced to raise local property taxes above the state limit in 2011.
- Eight-five percent of districts had to increase property taxes each year after that.
- Pennsylvania lost more than 27,000 public school jobs, including 14,000 teachers.
The next round of cuts could be twice as bad. Pennsylvania's schools and local taxpayers cannot afford it.
We have a choice. We must choose a path that funds our schools, eliminates our deficit, and puts Pennsylvania back on track.