Pennsylvania school districts grapple with dramatic budget cuts

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Protesters rally against education funding cuts on April 7 in Philadelphia. (AP/MATT ROURKE

Hour 1

In his proposed budget, Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett would reduce overall  public school aid by over $1.billion dollars. School districts across the Commonwealth are being forced to make drastic cuts in basic education programs that directly affect student learning.  According to a recent survey, many districts plan on reducing or eliminating programs like all-day kindergarten and elective courses, increasing class size and laying off instructional staff.  While no district is immune to the challenges, education advocates say poorer districts are being hit harder because they get a larger percentage of their budget from the State.   What is at risk, they say, is the dramatic improvement in achievement the Commonwealth’s students have made over the last decade as math and reading scores have increased in every grade from 2002-2008.  In this hour of Radio Times — the challenges facing Pennsylvania’s school districts.  We’ll start off with MICHAEL SOKOLOVE who wrote recently about one such district — Bristol Township — in the New York Times’ Week in Review section.  Then we hear from RON TOMALIS, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Education and public school advocates JIM BUCKHEIT of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators and BARUCH KINTISCH of the Education Law Center.

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[audio: 053111_100630.mp3]

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