The proposed 2014-15 budget provides no increase in the basic education subsidy line, leaving that allocation at $5.5 billion. Instead, the plan adds $251 million in other new classroom funding, which is still $430 million below 2010-11.
Several American cities have raised cigarette taxes as a public health measure and to generate local revenue for cash-strapped programs. These taxes are not as regressive as once assumed and can be an important part of a local funding package. Philadelphia has requested authorization from the General Assembly to add a $2 per pack tax on cigarettes sold in the city to raise an estimated $70-$90 million for its public schools.
After several changes, the General Assembly has passed a budget for 2014-15. One of the Governor's signature proposals, the Ready to Learn block grant was reduced from the $241 million proposed by Governor Corbett to $100 million in the final budget. This shows how the funds will be distributed to schools and how it differs from the Governor's proposal.
"The budget adopted by the Senate today relies on revenue estimates that are no more than magical thinking. It leaves a ticking time bomb that will explode before the year is out. The Pennsylvania Constitution requires a balanced budget. This budget does not meet that obligation."
The budget approved by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on June 25 made significant changes to the Governor’s proposed allocations to school districts and charter schools. The House budget eliminates a $241 increase to school districts and charter schools offered in the Governor’s Ready to Learn Block Grant, replacing it with a $70 million basis education increase, which is a 71% reduction from the Governor’s original proposed increase. This analysis compares each school district’s Ready to Learn allocation with that proposed by the House.
The School District of Philadelphia and other low-income school districts have been significantly harmed by Pennsylvania's failure to adequately fund public education, according to a new report from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.
This report examines school funding in Pennsylvania, focusing on the city of Philadelphia and on other low-income school districts. The report highlights recent funding cuts, and the policy choices that led to these cuts. The end of the report suggests some alternative – and better – choices that Pennsylvania might make regarding state school funding and tax policies going forward.