Education funding in Pennsylvania is one of the largest components of the Commonwealth's annual budget. This year education spending comprises approximately 36.4% of the Governor's proposed 28.3 billion dollar budget. A figure which equates to approximately 10.3 billion dollars.
Throughout the past two weeks House Democrats have made restoring cuts to our Commonwealth's portion of education funding a, "Priority". On the other side of the isle, House Republicans have maintained that education spending has never been higher. A comment reiterated yesterday by the House Majority Leader Mike Turzai when asked whether education funding for this year was adequate. "Yes, I believe it's fine," he stated.
At first glance it appears that education funding has increased, which it has, but unfortunately these increases have not offset increased costs, market losses, and long outstanding obligations like funding school teacher's pensions.
The problem started several years ago when the General Assembly decided to ignore projected demands and began modifying employer contribution rates to free up additional funds to be utilized elsewhere. Act 38 of 2002 reduced contribution rates to 1.15% and Act 120 of 2010 capped contribution rates for FY 2010/2011 at 5.64%. Both proposals passed with overwhelming support from both parties. This year employer contribution rates have been certified by the Public School Employees' Retirement System Board at 12.36%.
Suppressing contribution rates for over a decade only served to compound problems further when the stock market took a dive and brought the pension system's portfolio with it. Finger pointing aside, we've decided to analyze education spending across the Commonwealth's 501 school districts. What we've learned may surprise you.
Using the map below enter your address in the text box centered at the top of the map. Our system will locate your school district based upon the address you enter and display its legally defined area. Once displayed, click the shaded region representing your school district in order to view the Governor's proposed state funding for this year's budget.
To view a breakdown of how your school district has spent the money it has received, click the tab for the respective year in order to see what percentage of total funds went toward teacher's salaries and benefits.