March 12, 2012

School funding cuts clear with new online calculator

To help Pennsylvanians understand how two years of Gov. Tom Corbett’s school funding cuts affect their local school districts, PSEA created a School Funding Cuts Calculator, now available on and

PSEA President Mike Crossey said the calculator, which shows how much state funding for local schools has dropped since Gov. Corbett took office, is available at and

“Pennsylvanians need to understand the harm Gov. Corbett’s massive budget cuts have inflicted on students across the Commonwealth,” Crossey said. “When you see these cuts in black and white, you understand that our students can’t afford another year of devastating cuts.”

Crossey explained that the governor’s FY 2012-13 budget proposal unveiled on Feb. 7 uses an accounting gimmick, combining appropriations for non-instructional costs such as employee Social Security contributions and transportation, in an attempt to create the appearance of an increase in the state’s basic education subsidy to public schools.

He pointed out that the governor’s proposal to eliminate the accountability block grant program, which has funded effective, proven programs like full-day kindergarten, pre-kindergarten, and class size reduction initiatives since 2004, means that school districts will lose another $100 million in state support this year. The accountability block grant program is the latest to fall under the Corbett budget axe.

“When you do the math, and look at how actual instructional expenditures have dropped since Gov. Corbett took office, you get a sense of why so many districts are talking about cutting programs students need,” Crossey said. “Without state funding, programs disappear, and Pennsylvania’s students are feeling the consequences.”

Here is an example of what readers will find on PSEA’s websites, using the Brownsville Area School District’s data:

Calculator example 2012

“The governor’s proposal for 2012-13 leaves school officials and property taxpayers to figure out how to close a two-year, nearly $1 billion funding gap,” Crossey said. “The first step toward reversing these painful decisions is giving Pennsylvanians the information they need to see what the numbers mean.”

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