Education Basic Subsidy Up, But Some Say Levels Are Too Low

Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed state education budget for 2013-14 contains enough ideas to spark a lively debate for months.

First, there’s the money. After school districts lost about $1 billion largely in federal funds in each of the last two years, the proposed budget provides $90 million additional for basic education funding, which the governor’s materials described as “the first increase [in basic education subsidy] in two years.”

That would bring the basic education subsidy for K-12 schools to $5.49 billion, a 1.67 percent increase.

Higher education funding to both state-owned and state-related universities as well as community colleges would remain $1.2 billion.

In his budget address Tuesday, Mr. Corbett noted the public university leaders had agreed to keep tuition increases “as low as possible.”

“I think the best news is that the cutting has stopped for K-12 and higher education,” said Ron Cowell, president of the Education Policy and Leadership Center.

“Beyond that, the small increases that are suggested for K-12 — and it is only a $90 million increase — don’t begin to get school districts and programs and services for students back to where they were two years ago.”

That $90 million is allotted across the state’s 500 school districts, so that all would get at least as much basic education subsidy as they did in the current year and a formula will determine extra.

Click here to read the full article by Eleanor Chute published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (February 6, 2013)


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