HARRISBURG (October 3, 2012) – State Senator Andy Dinniman, Minority Chair of the Senate Education Committee, said today that the recently announced results of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) and the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) school districts survey illustrate the effects of the Corbett Administration’s assault on education funding.
The survey, conducted in August, is sent to school districts to determine the impact of the Fiscal Year 2012-13 enacted state budget and to learn the effects of school districts’ actions to balance their 2011-12 budgets.
“The results of this survey clearly indicate that adequate education funding matters to the quality of education our students receive,” Sen. Dinniman said. “School districts are faced with dire choices, forced to cut kindergarten, increase class sizes, cut tutoring and summer school programs. This, in turn, diminishes academic achievement in our schools.”
The survey found the following:
- 51 percent indicated they have increased class size. This is on top of larger class sizes imposed by 70 percent of school districts in 2011-12.
- 32 percent of school districts indicated they have reduced or eliminated programs that provide extra help or tutoring for struggling students. Thirty-five percent of districts statewide said they had already decreased tutoring/additional instruction time in 2011-12.
- 21 percent eliminated their summer school programs in 2012-13. Nineteen percent of school districts eliminated summer school in 2011-12.
- Several school districts indicated they have reduced/eliminated pre-kindergarten and full-day kindergarten this year and in 2011-12.
Last week the release of the 2011-12 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) test results showed the percentage of students statewide scoring proficient or advanced declined following nearly a decade of continuous, sustained progress.
Dinniman added that while the administration attempted to blame the test scores on cheating on tests, the results of the PASBO/PASA survey cannot be brushed away.
“Cuts in critical education programs have a significant impact on student performance, and the cuts in state funding this year will affect education for decades to come,” Dinniman said. “It’s imperative that we make education investments to reverse the current trends and benefit the future success of our students.
Dinniman added that while fiscal support is not the only answer to education performance, it certainly plays a critical role and its impact is clearly apparent on many school districts today.
“Solid education investments prepare students for a college education, or other post secondary training crucial to attract business investment in our commonwealth. We must continue our work to insure the success of students,” Dinniman added. In addition, when we make cuts to education funding, it results in an increase of the most onerous of taxes, the local school property taxes.”