August 14, 2013

Online calculator shows the facts about Corbett's school funding cuts

PSEA's online school funding calculator, which shows how much state funding for local schools has dropped since Gov. Tom Corbett took office, is available at and

“Since Gov. Corbett took office, schools are getting less state funding and students are being shortchanged,” said Michael Crossey, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association. “This calculator shows how much each school district has lost, and how much work must be done to end this crisis.”

Three years of funding cuts have forced dramatic cuts to student programs and pushed a growing number of public schools to the financial brink.

“A year ago, we told policymakers this crisis would get worse,” Crossey said. “Now, that's exactly what's happening. One more year of inaction has hurt even more students in even more schools.”

When Gov. Corbett signed the 2013-14 state budget into law, he claimed he was providing Pennsylvania's public schools with state funding increases. In reality, those modest increases fall far short of filling the massive funding gap created when the governor cut nearly $1 billion in 2011. The 2013-2014 state budget increases public school funding by only $130 million more than public schools received this year, leaving a massive, $726 million funding gap that remains unfilled.

The calculator includes a chart for each school district, illustrating the breakdown of school funding cuts since Gov. Corbett took office. For example, the Harrisburg School district will receive $2.9 million less funding for classroom instruction this year than it received in 2010-2011. The calculator also allows users to compare school funding for school districts in each county.

So far, four districts (Chester Upland, Harrisburg, York, and Duquesne City) have been designated by the Commonwealth as in “financial recovery” status, meaning their fiscal crisis is dire. Four additional districts have been placed in “financial watch” status. 

“These districts have been pushed to the breaking point, but they are only the first,” Crossey said. “More will follow as local reserves are exhausted to make up for state funding cuts.”

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