Where Does the Governor’s 2019 Budget Plan Put Us in Terms of Education?

Governor Wolf made education a priority in his first term and this year is no different as he continues to call for new investments in education. However, when stacked up beside what Pennsylvania actually needs to create quality public education for everyone, void of inequities, these new investments are just a small step towards addressing our educational needs as a state. The political environment in Harrisburg makes it difficult to even make an ask for what we need to adequately fund our public schools.

In this report we walk through Governor Wolf’s proposal for education and analyze his plan at different levels: preK-12; K-12 classroom funding; the Basic Education Subsidies and existing racial and economic inequities; the governor’s plan compared to what it would take to reach adequacy; special education; and early childhood (pre-K) education.

PRE-K-12 SPENDING

Pennsylvania’s public education system is made up of 500 school districts, which serve more than 1.7 million preK-12 students in more than 2,900 schools and early childhood centers of education. We look first at all state spending on preK-12 education. We then look at what we call “classroom funding” which includes only state funding to local school districts that directly supports classrooms. 

Figure 1 shows that Governor Wolf proposes an increase in pre-K-12 spending of 3.7% to $12.7 billion. 

Figure 2 shows the yearly change in pre-K-12 overall funding from 2011-12 to 2019-20. The proposed increase of $449 million is roughly equivalent to the increases in the last two years.

Read the rest of our analysis of the education portion of the governor's budget here.