(July 1) Playing Politics With Education: Did the governors of Michigan and Pennsylvania cut education funding or increase it?

Fact Check .Org
Posted on June 27, 2014

Summary

Claims from gubernatorial candidates and their opponents about education funding in Michigan and Pennsylvania couldn’t appear to be more conflicting.

  • In Michigan, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer talks about reversing Gov. Rick Snyder’s “billion dollars in education cuts.” Snyder’s campaign adviser, meanwhile, claims “Governor Snyder increased school funding by $1 billion.”
  • In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Corbett’s wife, Sue, is featured in an ad saying that Corbett “increased spending in the education department $1.5 billion over what it was when he came into office.” But according to the website of Corbett’s Democratic opponent, Tom Wolf, Corbett “cut state education funding by more than $1 billion.”

What gives? The disparate claims in both states have similar roots. In both states, education funding was bolstered by a temporary infusion of federal economic stimulus dollars prior to the Republican governors taking office. When that federal funding dried up, schools got less, even as the state’s share of contributions to education increased. In addition, both states’ governors are paying more toward the education employees’ retirement system, translating to less state money actually going to classrooms.

Sue Corbett also boasts that with her husband as governor, Pennsylvania is “one of the top states in the country in what we spend per pupil on education.” But that’s because of local spending – not state spending. The state contribution to per-pupil spending is in the middle of the pack, in raw dollars. As a percentage of public school funding, Pennsylvania’s state contribution ranks 45th.

 

Full story: Playing Politics With Education: Did the governors of Michigan and Pennsylvania cut education funding or increase it? FactCheck.Org, 6/27/14

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