So the state education budget is all wrapped up and school district finances back in order, right? Well, not so much, area business administrators say. In fact unless something changes, local districts will have to wait until the 2016-17 fiscal year to get some of this year’s subsidies from Harrisburg. “They already told us we’re not going to get our May and June Social Security reimbursements until July or August,” Hanover Area School District Business Manager Tom Cipriano said Wednesday. “That’s $90,000 for us. Add $210,000 in annual payments the district expected to receive for construction work done more than a decade ago, and another $280,000 in transportation reimbursement that the state has yet to guarantee, and Hanover Area is still short close to $600,000 in state money. That’s more than nine months after the state mandated June 30 deadline for all school districts to finalize their 2015-16 budget.
Once again, the governor has proven to have a total disregard for the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission formula (BEFC) that would have finally brought fairness and equity to our public schools. Instead of the fair distribution formula praised by everyone, including the governor, he has gone down the path of choosing who wins out and who loses.
By not using the BEFC formula, but using their own, newly created formula, the Wolf Administration aims to drive millions of new dollars to a few certain districts at the expense of the 423 other school districts. You read that right - 423 out of 500 school districts in Pennsylvania are losers with the Wolf Education Funding distribution.
And thus ends Pennsylvania’s year of the fudge-it budget, not with a decisive denouement, but with the oozing of an open sore. As an article in the Times Leader pointed out Thursday, even when a final state budget crossed the finish line, there was little final about it. Harrisburg is shelling out money while seemingly playing a shell game. Yes, area school districts got more education money than in 2014-15. But they didn’t get transportation subsidies, and they’ve been told some reimbursements owed this fiscal year – July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016 — won’t come until next fiscal year. Try telling the bank you’ll be making May’s mortgage payment in July.
- the current budget impasse
- the basics of education funding
- the school funding lawsuit
- the 2016-2017 proposed budget
- 2017 President Elect (one-year term)
- 2017 Vice President (one-year term)
- 2017-19 Central Section at Large Representative – includes Regions 4, 5, 6, 9 and 12 (three-year term)
House Majority Leader Rep. Dave Reed, (717) 705-7173
Senate President Pro Tempore Sen. Joe Scarnati, (717) 787-7084
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Jake Corman, (717) 787-1377