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During a March 2022 WRTA radio interview, gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano said that Pennsylvania should reduce per-student school funding by $10,000 annually. He has also called for the complete elimination of local school property taxes.
This extreme proposal would be devastating to Pennsylvania’s public schools and 1.7 million students. Imagine a public education system with half the teachers, counselors, nurses, and support staff who teach and serve our students.
Pennsylvanians deserve to have some idea what a proposal like this would mean for the commonwealth's public schools. PSEA has called on Sen. Mastriano to provide details about his plan. So far, he hasn’t.
In the absence of any details from Sen. Mastriano, PSEA took his proposal and estimated funding cuts, job losses, and increases in student-to-teacher ratios for every Pennsylvania:
In setting forth his proposal, Doug Mastriano cites current expenditures divided by Average Daily Membership (a measure of the number of students) for Pennsylvania school districts and proposes that, instead of funding each student at $19,000 on average (which equals $33 billion), Pennsylvania fund each student at $9,000 ($15 billion) or $10,000 ($17 billion). To go from a statewide avearge funding level of $19,000 a student to $9,000 a student requires a cut of $17.6 billion, or 53%.
When modeling this proposal PSEA Research decided to make the most “optimistic” assumption about what Mastriano really meant. We assume that the state would fully fund the $9,000-per-student voucher and leave other local non-property taxes and federal revenues, untouched. As a result of this modification:
During the week of Sept. 12, PSEA held a series of 12 press conferences throughout the state where we teamed up with concerned educators to highlight the negative impact Doug Mastriano’s proposed spending cuts would have on their districts and communities.
The turnout for each of the events was excellent, showing the depth of concern educators across the state are expressing for Sen. Mastriano’s plan, which would cut public education funding by $12.75 billion statewide.