More than 70% of PA school districts are planning to cut educational programs, according to a new survey conducted by the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) and Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA). Music, the arts, physical education, social studies, health and more would no longer be available or be greatly reduced, according to PASA executive director Jim Buckheit. “Not only will the things that students particularly enjoy… be reduced, but elective courses and even some core instructional programming will be reduced.”
The survey results are based on responses from 263 of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts. Among its other findings: 86% of districts plan to reduce class sizes, 70% plan to lay off staff, and 31% plan on nixing full-day kindergarten. Buckheit says these numbers show that education is not the place to cut. “If we want to improve our economic chances in the future, we need to education our children because they’re the workforce of tomorrow.”
The survey was conducted largely prior to the introduction of House Republicans’ budget plans. The majority caucus expects to vote this week on a budget bill (HB 1485) that would restore about $210-million dollars to public schools, compared to the billion-dollar cuts initially proposed by Governor Tom Corbett in March. “It’s a step forward, but it’s still a big hole to fill for school districts across the state,” Buckheit says. Even if additional state revenue comes in, Buckheit tells us, it may not alleviate the cuts described in the survey. The state budget deadline is June 30th.