Fact Check: Pennsylvania State and Local Education Spending

Today the Pennsylvania Department of Education is on day 3 of their “Tax You More” bus tour. While the administration continues their taxpayer funded lobbying effort, Commonwealth Foundation President Matt Brouillette is following along, offering some fact checking on education spending.

Here are some more facts on education spending:

  • The state share of education funding has always been less than half of school district spending.
    • Until 1983, a state law dictated that the Commonwealth should provide 50% of K-12 funding. This mandate was never fully fulfilled because of consistent increases in local district spending.
    • The state’s share of education funding peaked in the 1971-72 school year at 45%.
  • The state’s share has diminished not because of reduced spending (far from it) but due to sharper increases in spending and property taxes by local districts.

Much of this additional spending has been funneled to school construction, an area of spending not linked to performance. From 1996-97 to 2005-06, overall public school spending increased a startling 103% on construction and debt. Furthermore, schools that receive more money per pupil spend a greater share on facilities – indicating many school officials have an “edifice complex“.

More Info:

Budget Facts 2009: State Education Spending (click here for a printable version)