Education advocates will welcome Pennsylvania lawmakers back to Harrisburg Monday for the fall session with a reminder that they need more money.
In Harrisburg, legislators might be abuzz about picking over the scraps of the governor’s legislative agenda, but some advocates are trying to get the attention squarely on public schools and how they’re funded.
“The Pennsylvania Legislature is returning to work — and fixing the issue of school funding does not appear to be on their priority list and yet it’s a top priority for the people of Pennsylvania,” said Susan Gobreski, head of the advocacy group Education Voters of Pennsylvania. “So the focus is around making it clear that we believe they have work to do and that this needs to be a priority.”
No where is it more of a priority than in the Philadelphia School District where officials made drastic cuts to plug a $304 million budget gap. Classes began this month with 3,000 fewer employees.
State funding for schools increased slightly in the current budget year, but that didn’t make up for the overall cuts in the past two years under Corbett.
Another problem is the funding wasn’t doled out according to a formula developed by the Legislature in 2008. As a result, cuts have been disproportionately larger for poorer school districts, because they rely on the state more to meet their budgets.