October 10, 2009

State budget ensures continued progress in funding public education

PSEA commends the General Assembly and the Governor for making Pennsylvania schoolchildren a priority in the 2009-10 budget and for keeping their commitment to full and fair funding of Pennsylvania’s 500 public schools by 2014.

“Even in this difficult economy, Pennsylvania’s elected officials have demonstrated their commitment to fairness and equity in public education,” said PSEA President Jim Testerman. “We are moving closer to a time when the quality of the education a child receives will no longer be dependent upon the zipcode in which she lives.”

“On behalf of PSEA’s 191,000 members, I commend the Governor and the General Assembly for recognizing the importance of investing in Pennsylvania’s public schools.”

The budget provides for a more than $5.5 billion investment in basic education, including a $300 million increase in basic education subsidies to school districts. This step is critical to keep Pennsylvania on track to meet the funding targets set by the General Assembly in 2008.

“In a budget cycle that saw the state’s revenues decline by more than billions of dollars, a $300 million increase in K-12 education is a remarkable commitment,” said Testerman. “We are very grateful to the legislators who cast votes to support a budget that keeps such an important promise.”

While a $300 million increase for basic education is lower than the $418 million outlined in the funding formula passed last year, it is an increase that will support continued student progress as demonstrated through recent reports of academic gains by Pennsylvania students.  Stimulus funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allowed the General Assembly to honor the continuation and maintain the core tenets of Pennsylvania’s school funding formula and provide targeted investments for student achievement over six years to enable students to meet state academic standards.

“We pledge to work with legislators to continue efforts in 2010 to provide the resources that students need to continue this positive trend,” said Testerman.

A report released in August by the Center on Education Policy shows Pennsylvania students made gains in all academic categories from 2002-08. Pennsylvania was the only state in the nation to do so. The CEP report is consistent with the findings from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The NAEP found that Pennsylvania is one of only six states to make significant gains in elementary school reading and math since 2005. Also, Pennsylvania was one of only 10 states to make significant gains in elementary school reading and math since 2003.


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