New report details impact of brutal school funding cuts on Pennsylvania students
As Pennsylvania children start the new school year, they are finding fewer teachers and school staff, larger class sizes, reduced course offerings, outdated textbooks, reduced opportunities for extra help, and cuts to and fees charged for extracurricular activities.
A report from two groups representing school administrators and business managers confirms what teachers already knew - state funding cuts to Pennsylvania’s public schools have adversely affected the quality of education in the Commonwealth.
“When Governor Tom Corbett and the General Assembly reached a deal on the state budget in June and cut nearly $900 million from public schools, Pennsylvania’s teachers predicted our students would feel the consequences,” said Michael J. Crossey, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association. “This report confirms our predictions.
“Now, with fewer resources, the challenge of educating our students, especially in schools serving struggling communities, has become much more difficult,” Crossey said.
The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) and the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) surveyed the state’s 500 school districts and documented the negative consequences inflicted on the quality of education.
The report, released on September 14, shows that class sizes have increased in 70 percent of school districts that responded. The report also pointed out that course offerings have disappeared in nearly half of the school districts, and tutoring opportunities have been eliminated in many others. Full-day and pre-kindergarten have been eliminated in some school districts.
“In some struggling districts, news media have recently reported classes as large as 75 students per classroom,” Crossey said. “Teachers will struggle to teach and students will struggle to learn in these conditions.
“The report is the latest evidence that Pennsylvania is headed in the wrong direction with these brutal school funding cuts,” Crossey said. “Governor Corbett and the General Assembly should roll up their sleeves and start working on a plan to provide our schools with the resources they need to deliver the power of a great education to all of Pennsylvania’s students.”
Crossey said PSEA looks forward to working with PASBO and PASA and other members of the Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign to advocate for adequate and equitable funding of public schools.
The PASA-PASBO report is available online at www.pasa-net.org and www.pasbo.org.