Contact Information 

Meadville District Office
900-920 Water Street
Downtown Mall
Meadville, PA  16335
Phone (814) 336-1136
Hours 8 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. (M-F)

Fairview Office (Mondays Only)
Fairview Township Building
7471 McCray Rd., Fairview, PA
Hours 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Monday)
1-800-770-2377

Cranesville Office (Thursdays Only)
Cranesville Borough Office
10195 John Williams Ave.
Cranesville, PA 16410
Phone: 1-800-770-2377
Hours 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. (Thursday)

Capitol Office
Hon. Brad Roae
162B East Wing
Harrisburg PA 17120-2006
Phone: (717) 787-2353
Fax: 717-782-2902

E-mail:
  broae@pahousegop.com

State Education Funding by the Numbers
3/23/2011

By Rep. Brad Roae (R-Crawford)

 

Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget spends $1 out of every $3 on pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education.  That is 33.3 percent of the budget for kids in the 4-year-old to 18-year-old age group. 

 

Another approximately 5 percent is for higher education, so the total education spending in the proposal is about 38 percent of the budget.   Accordingly, approximately 38 cents out of every dollar in sales tax and personal income tax people pay would be for education.  

 

Some media reports and many conversations people are having regarding the budget give the illusion that there is very little education funding in the governor’s proposal.  Many people would think using 38 percent of the total spending, or more than $10 billion, for education represents a significant investment.  

 

During the last 10 years, the total state funding for the pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education items in the state General Fund budget have grown by 55 percent.  If you look at the pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education items, such as basic education funding, special education funding, student transportation funding, computers for schools, staff for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the dozens of other items in the pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education part of the budget, you can see it has grown from $6.094 billion to $9.462 billion. During that same time period, the total General Fund budget has grown by approximately 40 percent and the inflation rate was only approximately 30 percent.   The total number of students locally and statewide also has declined in the past 10 years.  

 

Despite these large education spending increases that far exceed the growth of earnings of the people who live in Pennsylvania, exceeds the growth of the state budget, and exceeds the growth of the inflation rate, some people are saying this funding level “guts education spending” and “puts our schools at risk.”

 

State funding for education provides approximately 30 percent of the total budgets for the 500 school districts in the Commonwealth.   School districts in Crawford County receive between 40 percent and 55 percent of their entire budgets from state funding in the governor’s budget proposal.  

 

Criticism or support of state legislators and the governor regarding state education funding levels is appropriate, but should be limited only to the proposed state funding portion.  Some people are blaming the governor and state legislators for reductions in federal funding for education, but those concerns should be addressed with the president and the U.S. Congress.  Some are saying that since federal stimulus funds are used up, the state should increase funding to fill that void.   School districts knew that money was temporary and that it would dry up in two years. 

 

The governor’s budget proposal spends more on education than it spends on the combined budgets for welfare programs, such as mental health/mental retardation programs, cash assistance, subsidized day care for low-income people, prisons, probation, and parole, debt service, the Department of Agriculture, attorney general’s office, auditor general’s office, Civil Service Commission, Department of Community and Economic Development, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Office of Emergency Management, Department of Environmental Protection, Environmental Hearing Board, Ethics Commission, executive offices, Department of General Services, governor’s office, Department of Health, Health Care Cost Containment Council, Higher Education Assistance Agency, Historical and Museum Commission, House of Representatives, Department of Insurance, Magisterial District Courts, Courts of Common Pleas, Superior Court, Commonwealth Court, Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Department of Labor and Industry, lieutenant governor’s office, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Department of Revenue, Securities Commission, Department of State, Department of Transportation, Senate, State Employees’ Retirement System, state parks, Pennsylvania State Police, Tax Equalization Board and the Department of the Treasury.

 

As you can see from the list above, the state has a lot of other responsibilities to fund in addition to education.   Unlike our friends in Washington, D.C., who spend $1 for every 70 cents of tax revenue, in Harrisburg we are limited to spending what we have on hand, which is a good thing.  When people say, “increase education spending,” what they really need to say is “cut state park spending” or “cut group home funding for people with developmental disabilities” or cut some other state funding area and use that money for more education spending.  Each dollar of increased spending for an item in the budget proposal requires a dollar of decreased spending in another.

 

During the next several weeks, as we are working on the proposed budget, I will continue to obtain input from local residents.  At this point, the governor’s budget is just a proposal, nothing has been voted on and nothing is in effect.  I will evaluate the budget concerns and the wide-ranging points of view on budget priorities of the people I represent.   It is likely that funding in some items will be increased while funding in other items will be decreased.

 

I will use a fiscally responsible, realistic and fair approach when advocating for increases in some areas and decreases in other areas.   I will consider which programs have positive measurable results for the taxpayers and which programs have few positive results and waste taxpayer money.  I will consider how critical each item is, what state funding changes have occurred during the last several years, and what changes in federal funding for those same items have taken place.   

 

I will not support a tax increase.  Like Corbett, I was elected on a no-tax-increase philosophy.  We told people while seeking office that we would not raise taxes. 

 

State Representative Brad Roae

6th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Dan Massing      

dmassing@pahousegop.com
717.772.9845
RepRoae.com

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