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Report: Education Spending Gap “Exploded” Under Corbett’s Tenure

schoolbooksRecent analysis of education funding shows a large disparity in funds budgeted to spend per student in the wealthiest and poorest districts.

Figures released by the Associated Press on state spending, income and attendance has yielded a stark and growing disparity.

“Districts in the top 20 percent of average resident income are budgeted to spend slightly more than $4,000 more per student this year than the poorest 20 percent of districts,” according to the analysis. “That’s a 130 percent increase, or about $2,300 more per student, in the past four years.”

Jim Buckheit of The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators noted that less privileged districts “can’t make up the difference” from tax revenues. “As these cuts went into place, the only options the (poorer) districts had was to cut.”

This report fortifies the perception of a flawed state education system that has “one of the smallest roles in school funding of any state, leaving poorer school districts too reliant on an inadequate and often-shrinking local tax bases,” as one critic put it.

Incoming Governor Tom Wolf now shares the same conundrum as former Governor Ed Rendell, who chose to pump about $2 billion per year into education. Experts say a solution to parity problems would cost at least $1 billion immediately.

Gov. Corbett, for his part, is still sticking by his original mantra that when it comes to the state’s education funding, it is more important how money is spent rather than how much money is spent.

15 Responses

  1. A depressing day when republicans in the condition are so buy by the chat manufacturing that the merely method they will add to financial hold up for learning is on the back of middle and near to the ground profits Pennsylvanians.

  2. Observer’s incoherent rant, replete with a non-word (“stupider”), indicates a lack of basic English skill. He would do well to start watching Fox and learn something.

    As the product of a Catholic school with very little money, very large classes, and multiple academic achievement scholarships, I can attest from experience that more money does not equal better education.

    As another example, The poorest black kids at Church of the Gesu in North Philadelphia lack fathers and often mothers, but excel academically. With that said, liberals like “Observer” should spend less time railing endlessly about victimhood, and the need for more money, and more time focusing on encouraging intact families. That will do far more to improve education in poor areas than socialism ever has or will.

  3. I think Philadelphia’s cost per student is highest. I still would love to hear from people how much they think it reasonable for taxpayers to pay per student per year to go to school. Is $16,000 enough? That’s roughly $80/student/day.

  4. Shouldn’t be such a large disparity between rich and poor districts. That’s the bottom line. Speaking just for the Philadelphia area, we have extremes of both wealth and poverty in school districts yet no significant differences in the cost of living. So the cost of living argument does not apply.

    The funding formula should be more in line with the 48 other states that have more equitable formulas.

    And people have to recognize the issue of fixed costs – – contributions to pension funds, charter school reimbursements – – is affecting the school districts’ ability to spend money on education. The charter school reimbursement rates do not take into account that the higher cost students (disabled, special ed, disciplinary problems) end up in neighborhood schools.

  5. From the linked article…a reading comprehension lesson:

    “Districts in the top 20 percent of average resident income are budgeted to spend slightly more than $4,000 more per student this year than the poorest 20 percent of districts. That’s a 130 percent increase, or about $2,300 more per student, in the past four years.”

    I think cost of living varies by about 50% across PA if memory serves. This looks like a variance of about half that, maybe.

  6. $4,000??! that is a very Unrealistic teacher. Just plain bad teaching. Can’t say I’m shocked.

  7. The problem is in the mathematical averages. There are a lot less private schools than public schools. One upper-class neighborhood school may be spending $20,000 per pupil a year while an inner-city school spends only $4,000. That’s the disparity issue.

  8. I think what Abe is saying is that if you can educate a student at an expensive private school for $10,000/yr., then the state should be able to do a better job as it spends $15,000/student/yr.

  9. Honest Abe, when was the last time you were in a school? My guess would be as a student.

    With twelve years of public school teaching in a low-income district, I can tell you there is quite a lot of disparity and money does matter. When you speak of the private schools, who is going there? Families with money, highly educated parents, great access to technology, and an access to out of school tutoring. My students have none of that. Every year, there are kids who are the first to graduate high school in their FAMILY. Those kids work multiple jobs to help support the home, have to find wait in line to use an out-of-date computer at school, have to use out-dated textbooks in school only because there is no money to buy enough to allow students to take them home and get less sleep than you could function on.

    You talk about school choice, well, for many there is no choice. How about funding schools equally… or… just a thought… Helping those schools who need it instead of constantly putting them down!

  10. “An undereducated workforce leads to lower labor costs for his owners.” That’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard in a while. Where did you go to school?

  11. Nonsense. Public school spending is out of control.

    Catholic schools spend a lot less money per student and achieve better results.

    We must end the public school monopoly by implementing school choice policies.

  12. One-term Tommie did a good job of doing what his owners told him to do. An undereducated workforce leads to lower labor costs for his owners, stupider voters willing to vote against their own interests (any Republican not making a million a year), and more Fox News watchers. Tommie and his indicted son-in-law will live very comfortably on the bribe money.

  13. Just asking, but is any consideration made for cost of living between districts? I.E. labor costs should be lower in some places and higher in others.

    And, what are we spending per pupil? A range and median would be helpful for the average taxpayer to understand.

  14. It is more important how monies are spent and it is clear that poor counties are separate and unequal.

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