Undermining Educational Opportunity: Pennsylvania’s Unequal Restoration of School Funding

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Download Appendix: Data ordered by County, Cut Size
Download Appendix: Data ordered by Remaining Cut
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Gov. Tom Corbett and the General Assembly reduced classroom funding for Pennsylvania’s schools by nearly $860 million in 2011-12. Today, $570 million of the original classroom cuts – or two-thirds – remain in place.  The average cut per student is $330.

This policy brief examines the distribution of the remaining cuts per student by school district and finds large inequities. Specifically, we find the school districts that have had the smallest share of 2011-12 funding cuts restored are low income, high poverty, and have higher non-proficiency rates on PSSA exams. This pattern follows the initial distribution of the 2011-12 funding cuts, which were three times larger in high-poverty school districts than in low-poverty ones. 

In other words, the school districts that have had the least amount of their funding restored since the deep 2011-12 funding cuts are the ones that face the greatest challenges in boosting student achievement.  To maximize student achievement, Pennsylvania should focus its reinvestment in education on these school districts that have the deepest cuts remaining.