Despite stagnation in qualitative measures of school performance, cries for additional spending in public schools have not subsided. In fact, Gov. Rendell says he will continue to increase funding for school districts in the coming school year despite a ballooning state budget deficit. The governor is seeking passage of a 2010-11 budget that includes a $355 million boost to its basic education subsidy to districts.
One of the drivers of higher spending is an increase in staff sizes while enrollment has declined. Data from the PA Department of Education indicates that from 1999-2000 to 2008-09 the state has seen a 12 percent increase in public school staff and a 1 percent decline in enrollment. Pennsylvania schools added 17,345 professional staff and 15,582 support staff over this time, while enrollment declined by 26,960.
Some of the highest declines in student bodies occured in Allegheny and Philadelphia counties, as enrollment fell by 16,883 and 14,072 in each county, respectively.
|Pennsylvania Public School Enrollment and Staff|
|Professional Staff||Support Staff||Total Staff|
|(includes public charter schools)|
|Source: PA Department of Education|