Governor Corbett Increased State Spending For Public Education

FY 2011-2012 budget spends more Pennsylvania dollars to educate our children while public schools sit on over $3 billion in reserves

HARRISBURG — Republican Party of Pennsylvania Executive Director Mike Barley released the following statement in support of Governor Tom Corbett’s budget proposal.

“Pennsylvania finances were headed towards the same turmoil as our federal government’s, where President Obama’s massive spending has resulted in nearly double-digit unemployment and has threatened to bankrupt our future,” Barley said. “Fortunately, we elected fiscally responsible leaders, like Governor Tom Corbett, who are willing to make the tough decisions to restore fiscal responsibility to our Commonwealth.

“Let’s not forget that Governor Corbett inherited a $4 billion budget deficit and was forced to make the tough, but necessary, decisions to get our state back on the right track. However, recognizing the importance of investing in Pennsylvania’s youth, Governor Corbett actually redirected more Pennsylvania dollars towards basic education funding than his predecessor, restoring state government’s share of basic education funding to its pre-stimulus levels.

“In stark contrast to the past eight years, Governor Corbett’s budget is a breath of fresh air that confronts our spending problem without one-time gimmicks and puts Pennsylvania on the road towards prosperity. The Republican Party of Pennsylvania wholeheartedly supports Governor Tom Corbett and his mission to get our Commonwealth back on the path towards fiscal solvency.”

Click here to view a graph that shows the “Stimulus Fund Illusion” and how Basic Education Funding dollars have been spent over the past 10 years.

According to updated figures from the Commonwealth Foundation, public school fund balances grew to just over $3 billion. School reserves increased 13% over last year and 157% since 1996-97.

According to the PA Department of Education, since 2000, public school staffing has increased while enrollment has decreased. Enrollment has decreased by 26,960 while schools have hired 32,937 more staff members. (“Pennsylvania Education Spending Update,” Commonwealth Foundation, 6.6.11)

Additionally, K-12 spending has continued to grow at an out-of-control rate. Pennsylvania’s education spending increased from $4 billion in 1980 to more than $25 billion in 2009—a 133% increase in per-student spending, after adjusting for inflation.