Editorial by the Pottstown Mercury
Two months past the deadline for a state budget, and little has changed since the July 1 start of a new fiscal year. Gov. Tom Wolf and the Legislature are no closer to resolution than they were at the start of summer.
What has changed is that children are heading back to school with no money from the state to support education.
In most districts, the shortfall isn’t missed in August because property tax payments are coming in, insuring good cash flow in school districts even without state subsidies. But that scenario of relying solely on local tax income emphasizes the inequities in Pennsylvania public education.
“The state’s delay in passing a budget only aggravates the current education inequities in Pennsylvania.” said Charlie Lyons, spokesman for the Campaign for Fair Education Funding in a press release. “It is the students with the greatest needs that are most affected by the failure to pass a budget, since the schools facing the most challenges rely more on state dollars and have fewer local revenues to fill the gaps.”
A recent survey conducted by the PA Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) showed that a majority of survey respondents — 83 percent — are using fund balances to cover the lack of state subsidy payments, while half of survey respondents said they have borrowed or are considering borrowing to avoid any cash flow difficulties, the coalition of school equity reform organizations noted.