Brandon Franchak’s education is almost $2,700 short.
So are the educations of Destiny Babcock, A.J. Gajewski, Emily Moser and the rest of their classmates in the sixth-grade music class at Carbondale Area Elementary School.
In the first two budgets during Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration and under the budget proposed last week, Carbondale stands to receive a total reduction of $4.4 million, compared to funding during the last year of Gov. Ed Rendell’s administration. That is a three-year state funding reduction of almost $2,700 per student, according to a Sunday Times analysis.
The district, one of the poorest in Northeast Pennsylvania, has one of the largest losses per student in the state. The music program has been cut. Class size has gone from 20 or 21 to 27 or 28 students per class. After-school tutoring has been eliminated.
Similar cuts have been made across the region’s 37 school districts, and the poorer the district, the more has been cut, according to the paper’s analysis. The districts in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties are facing a $149 million three-year reduction in state funding. Statewide, almost $2.5 billion will have been cut in three years if the budget Gov. Tom Corbett proposed last week is approved.
The proposed 2013-14 budget increases total funding in Northeast Pennsylvania by $6.8 million. Districts statewide would see $90 million, or a 1.7 percent increase.
Officials welcome the funding but say it is far from keeping up with increases in salaries, health care, pensions and utilities – and will do nothing to increase academic programs or rigor.
Click here to read the full article by Sarah Hofius Hall published in the The Scranton Times Tribune (February 10, 2013).