Pa. school officials try to assess impact of Corbett budget plan

    School district officials in Pennsylvania are still assessing where they stand after Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget lowers their funding and bundles several line items into one lump sum.

    Basic education dollars, as well as money to help pay for student transportation and school employees’ Social Security costs, would all be placed into funding stream.

    Bundling the line items together could serve school districts very well, but many still have concerns, said Tom Gentzel, director of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

    “The governor’s argument, which sounds good to us on one level, which is we’re going to give districts more flexibility in how they use funding by including block grant,” he said. “That’s good on one level … on the other hand, we need to see, what would that funding have been if it remained separate and which districts are going to see a loss in state funding and which ones might see more.”

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    The governor says his proposal would give school districts slightly more in basic funding than they received in state funding last year.

    Gentzel says while that’s true, the spending plan also eliminates another $100 million funding stream for districts, so they would still be hit with a loss under the proposal.

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