Readers Ask, We Answer: Education Spending

A reader asked us to help clarify the claims of Yinzercation blog on state education subsidies. The blogger claims the Corbett administration is being disingenuous about state K-12 education subsidies when they say they are returning education spending to pre-stimulus levels.

The gist of the Yinzercation post is this:

  • In 2008-09 (pre-stimulus), under Gov. Rendell, the state spent $9.597 billion on PK-12 education (“basic education”).
  • In 2011-12, under Gov. Corbett, the state spent $9.225 billion on PK-12 education (“basic education”).

Big problem hereā€”the 2008-09 spending numbers included stimulus funds, $1.2 billion to be exact. And while most of the federal aid was earmarked for Medicaid spending, it freed up state dollars to be spent elsewhere (like education). And subsequent increases of state tax dollars for Medical Assistance has crowded out other areas of spending.

The actual last pre-stimulus year was 2007-08, when the state spent $9.328 billion on PK-12 education. The 2011-12 budget represents a reduction from 07-08, but only a 1.1 percent cut. For 2012-13, Gov. Corbett proposed $9.588 billion, or a $260 million increase over pre-stimulus spending levels.