HARRISBURG – A report issued Friday by Pennsylvania’s largest teachers union said funding cuts have forced some difficult decisions on school districts throughout the state.
Pennlive.com reported on the release of “Sounding the Alarm 2,” an update on the fallout from an $860 million reduction in funding two years ago.
The union study documents reductions in programs and other painful choices.
Union president Mike Crossey, who believes the state needs to restore more of the funding, said the cuts have disproportionately hurt poorer districts.
“Gov. Corbett and his funding cuts have created this crisis in the state of Pennsylvania and in order to turn this around, we need a state government and legislative leaders that will make full and fair funding a priority,” Crossey told the news site.
Education Department spokesman Tim Eller blames the reductions on the elimination of federal stimulus money.
He said districts used the federal money to hire more people, and the reductions in positions during the past two years as student populations declined have brought employee numbers back to where they were before the stimulus.
Crossey said districts no longer are required to submit program curtailment requests to the state that describe which programs are slated for reductions or eliminations.
Eller said Corbett sought that change in state law, saying the new approach is more efficient.
“This provides school districts with greater control over their own decision-making and results in less administrative work for the department,” Eller said.