Governor Corbett’s Budget Cuts Over $1.1 Billion in Education

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Governor Corbett recently released the details of his proposed state budget for 2011-2012, including staggering cuts to basic education (over $1.1 BILLION).  This budget represents an outrageous lack of understanding of the value and importance of public school to the future of our kids, our communities and our economy.  These cuts will affect all Pennsylvanians and our legislators need to hear from us NOW about how this is the wrong choice for Pennsylvania.

Here are a few talking points:

  • We need strong public schools to ensure a full economic recovery; shortchanging our future workforce is the last thing we want to do when the economy is just beginning to bounce back.
  • Investments in public education are working; PA has show student achievement improvements in every subject and grade level tested in the past several years.  These cuts risk losing ground on that progress.
  • Every $1 spent on early education yields $7 in savings,  including reduced costs of crime, drug use and teen parenting.  This budget gives an increase to prisons but cuts education, and that does not make sense.
  • Before cutting education legislators need to ask corporation to pay their fair share like the rest of us.  We need to tax natural gas extraction and smokeless tobacco, like every other state.
  • These cuts put the following at risk: after school programs, efforts to reduce class size, tutoring and mentoring, full-day kindergarten and other early education funding in the form of accountability block grants (ABGs).  These things have all proven time and time again to be some of the best ways to improve education, and we need to preserve programs and practices that are proven to work.

Details on the budget:

  • School districts would lose more than $1 billion of state and federal stimulus funding.
  • Basic Education Subsidy reduced by $550 million.
  • Accountability Block Grants were eliminated, a loss of $259.456 million – Much of this was used by districts to support early education.
  • Charter school reimbursement to districts is eliminated, a loss of $224.083 million – These payments reimbursed school districts for about 25% of their charter school costs; helping to offset fixed costs that districts still incur when a student leaves and the district makes a payment for them.
  • Special Education would be flat-funded for the 3rd consecutive year at ($1.026 billion).
  • Career and Technical Education was level funded at $62 million.
  • Other cuts to school districts amount to more than $50 million.

These other basic education items are eliminated entirely:

    • Basic Education Formula Enhancements ($1.984 million)
    • Enrollment Payments ($6.959 million)
    • School Improvement Grants ($10.797 million)
    • Education Assistance Program ($47.606 million)
    • Science It’s Elementary ($6.910 million)
    • Mobile Science Education Program ($1.6 million
  • Intermediate Units ($4.761 million)
  • Entity Demonstration Projects ($600 thousand)
  • High School Reform ($1.762 million)
  • Lifelong Learning ($825 thousand)
  • Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic ($69 thousand)
  • Job Training Programs ($3.442 million)