July 1, 2011 – Governor Corbett signed the 2011-2012 State Budget legislation (House Bill 1485) late in the evening on Thursday, June 30, fulfilling the commitment made by him and Republican leaders in the House and Senate to complete the budget before the June 30 constitutional deadline.
Although the budget was completed “on time,” it includes major cuts for basic education and higher education that will result in cuts in K-12 programs, higher property taxes in school districts, and higher tuition for public colleges and universities.
These education funding cuts were approved by the Legislature despite a growing state surplus that as of July 1 includes an estimated $785 million in revenue over what was estimated for the now-completed 2010-2011 fiscal year.
SUMMARY OF 2011-2012 STATE BUDGET FOR EDUCATION
The $27.149 billion General Fund budget represents a 3.4 percent decrease, or $962 million less, in spending from the 2010-2011 budget. The budget makes deep cuts and eliminates many education programs while leaving most of the $785 million surplus intact.
Funding to school districts is cut by more than $900 million. While all districts are hard hit by this budget, the greatest adverse impact will be felt by the poorer districts across the state. Major cuts include:
- Basic Education funding ($5,354,629,000) was cut by $421.5 million or 7.3 percent from the current year.
- Accountability Block Grants were funded at $100 million, down by $159 million or 61 percent. The funding for ABGs was appropriated from reserve funds. $50 million was appropriated by the Governor from the General Fund, with the remaining $50 million from House and Senate surplus.
- Funding for Reimbursement to School Districts for Charter School Expenses, funded last year at $224 million, was eliminated.
- Funding for dual enrollment, Science: It’s Elementary, Education Assistance Program, School Improvement grants and Intermediate Units was also eliminated.
Other education and education-related items in the state budget include the following:
- Funding for special education in the amount of $1,026,815,000 was maintained at the 2010-2011 level. The appropriation continues the set aside for extraordinary special education expenses at 1 percent of the appropriation, or $10,263,000.
- Appropriations for Career and Technical Education, PA Charter Schools for the Deaf and Blind, and Approved Private Schools were level funded.
- Public Library Subsidies were cut by 2 percent to $$53.507 million.
- Teacher Professional Development cut by two-thirds to $ $7.177 million.
- Adult and Family Literacy was cut by 17.5 percent to $12.289 million.
- Head Start Supplemental and Pre-K Counts were reduced by about 3 percent.
- The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) was cut by 18% or $90.6 million; the State-Related Universities (Pitt, Penn State, Temple and Lincoln) were reduced by about the same as PASSHE at 19 percent; and the Community Colleges were cut by 10 percent.
- “Grants to Students” appropriation to the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) was reduced by $7.378 million to $380.935 million.
- The administrative budget for the Council on the Arts was reduced by 1 percent to $886,000 and the “Grants to Arts” funding was reduced by $243,000 to $8,179,000. These funding levels represent a significant restoration of funding from much more serious cuts approved in the House-passed budget a few weeks ago.
- The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission was cut by 6.7 percent.to $17.525 million.
Click here to view the Senate Republican Appropriations Committee spreadsheets for the final budget for Fiscal Year 2011-2012.
Click here to view the budget printouts prepared by the House Democratic Appropriations Committee.
June 30, 2011 – After hours of debate and attempts by House Democrats to amend the budget, the Republican-controlled state House of Representatives voted Wednesday mostly on party lines, 109-92, to send the $27.149 billion budget bill to the governor’s desk.
June 28, 2011 – The Senate has passed a $27.15 billion budget by a 30-20 party line vote. It now goes to the state House for consideration. Spending levels are down about $962 million, or 3.4% from the 2010-2011 budget. The cuts to major education programs total $863 million. We will provide a detailed analysis soon.
June 27, 2011 – A proposed Pennsylvania budget line-item detail has been released to lawmakers by the House Republican Appropriations Committee. The line items specify where the money will be spent.
- View the plan: Final_2011_12Budget_Printout.pdf
State representatives and senators will pore over them to see how the budget will affect their home areas. The budget makes widespread cuts in an effort to cope with a deficit.
Majority Republican leaders and GOP Gov. Tom Corbett want to enact a budget before the new fiscal year starts at midnight Thursday.
June 24, 2011 – Governor Tom Corbett and State House and Senate GOP Leaders agreed to an initial framework for a state spending plan, but will be working on the details throughout the weekend. The plan reportedly calls for $27.15 billion in spending for next fiscal year. The Senate could amend the budget early next week. Check back here for more news.
Read an article from Pennlive.com about the budget framework deal.