Student Learning Opportunities Slashed Across State As Financial Condition of School Districts Continues to Deteriorate

HARRISBURG, PA—(May 22, 2012)—A new survey indicates that, for a second consecutive year, school districts’ are again forced to consider cuts to instructional programs and school personnel actions as they anticipate continued worsening of their financial condition, unless state and local funding improves. Having already made cuts this fiscal year as a result of steep state budget cuts and declining local revenues, school districts will be forced to implement even deeper cuts, further limiting students’ opportunities to learn.

Two hundred and eighty-one, or 56 percent, of the state’s 500 districts participated in the third annual school budget survey conducted in late April by the PA Association of School Administrators (PASA) and the PA Association of School Business Officials (PASBO). The survey asked school districts to answer questions related to their financial health and the impact of the enacted FY 2011-12 and proposed FY 2012-13 state budgets.

The survey report documents in nearly half of the districts responding that financial distress is anticipated within three years if state and local funding does not improve. Three percent of districts reported that they are already in such distress.

“Unfortunately, there does not appear to be any relief in sight,” said Jay Himes, executive director of PASBO. “Without additional revenues or significant mandate relief, particularly from charter school costs, we will begin to see many more districts in financial distress, particularly when fund balances are depleted.”

Survey results indicate that districts anticipate using three times more fund balance in 2012-13 as used for the current year. About one-in-five districts had diminished their excess funds by 50% or more in the last two years.

Click here to read the Press Statement and Survey.


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