BLOG: Three Big Reasons We Need to Invest In PA Schools

By: Sarah Galbally, Secretary of Policy and Planning

June 16, 2016

Earlier this month, a new report by The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) and Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) revealed statistics that underscore the importance of investing in Pennsylvania’s schools.

The report said that in the 2016-2017 school year:

  • 46% of school districts plan to reduce staff
  • 34% of school districts plan to increase class sizes
  • 50% of school districts plan to reduce or eliminate academic or extracurricular programs

These are three big reasons we need to commit to investing in our schools. Governor Wolf has always made fully funding education one of his top priorities. In his 2016-2017 Budget, Governor Wolf proposes a $200 million increase in the Basic Education Subsidy, $50 million increase in the Special Education Subsidy, and a $60 million increase in high­-quality early childhood education. Though this investment cannot fully reverse the severe education cuts of the previous administration, it does put Pennsylvania back on the right track.

A recent positive step forward for education in Pennsylvania was Governor Wolf’s signature on a bill that takes an important step in ensuring the basic education fair funding formula is permanent. Prior to the passing of this bill, Pennsylvania was one of only three states that did not have such a formula in place, creating massive inequities in schools and hitting our most vulnerable students the hardest.

Establishing a fair funding formula is a vital step in bettering our commonwealth’s education system. But this is not a cure-all for the challenges our schools face. In order to give students the education and skills they need to excel in a 21st-century economy, we need to make significant investments in our schools.

If we don’t balance our budget with sustainable revenue to fix the deficit, we will not be able to invest in our schools. Instead, we will be faced with a $1 billion cut to education that will lead to larger class sizes, teacher layoffs, program reductions, and skyrocketing property taxes.

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