Education

A survey of Pennsylvania superintendents and school business officials offers a bleak portrait of the state of education in the commonwealth. With mandated costs growing faster than revenues, districts across the state report that they are planning to cut staff, increase class sizes, and curtail programs and extracurriculars — all while hiking local property taxes.

Education advocates across Pennsylvania are celebrating the fact that the state is about to commit to a new student weighted formula for distributing state aid. But not everyone is happy.

Joining Most States, PA Adopts School Funding Formula

May 26, 2016

Pennsylvania will soon join the overwhelming majority of states that have a student-based formula for distributing state education funds. Both the House passed the measure with a large majority Wednesday. The Senate did so last week. For much of the past 25 years, the state has largely divided it's main pot of education money based on the principle that districts should never get less than the prior year.

Lindsey Lazarski / WHYY

Pennsylvania has seen one of the nation's largest reductions in state funding for public colleges and universities since the start of the recession. That's according to a report released Thursday by the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

MARTINA YACH / FLICKR

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is pushing legislation that would help school districts deal with old pipes that are leaching lead into school’s water systems.

MEMPHISCVB / FLICKR

Votes on school budgets and school board elections are held across the state today.  Plus, New York's school boards association says more schools are seeking to convince voters to override the state’s tax cap.

Jessica Kourkounis

The advocacy group Public Interest Law Center says the commonwealth's own data point to the need for at least $3.2 billion in added state funding. When the state's bipartisan basic education funding commission published its report last year, it came up with a new formula for distributing new state education dollars. The formula acknowledges that districts face added burdens, for instance, when educating students in poverty, or those still learning English.

Payne Horning, WRVO

(WRVO) Vice President Joe Biden was the guest of honor Friday at the Syracuse University Law School graduation ceremony, but the focus of the event centered on his late son Beau Biden. 

The Pennsylvania school code says teacher layoff decisions can only be made according to who has the least seniority. The Republican-held general assembly passed a bill this week to change that, but it's facing a veto pledge from Governor Tom Wolf.  The bill does two main things. It changes the conditions under which layoffs can happen and it changes which teachers should be laid off.

Michelle Faust / SIDE EFFECTS PUBLIC MEDIA

Three-year-old Jaime is excited to talk about what he’s learning in school today. “I’m happy!” he declares while showing off a card with a smiley face and the word “happy” at the bottom. Why?  “My mommy loves me!”

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