Bad news, good news for schools: No big grants, but no big cuts

Posted: February 08, 2012

GOV. CORBETT'S state budget unveiled yesterday doesn't include a miracle infusion of cash to help the Philadelphia School District out of its financial crisis.

But it also doesn't include shocking cuts that would cap the district at the knees like last year's draconian budget from Harrisburg.

Although statewide funding for education remained about the same as last year, the district stands to lose about $20 million from elimination of the accountability block grant program, according to estimates from lawmakers.

While eliminating that program, Corbett promised that the new "student-achievement education block grant" would increase school districts' flexibility in spending state money.

School Reform Commission Chairman Pedro Ramos, a Corbett appointee, issued a statement applauding the governor for that change and saying that the district "appreciates the governor's effort to spare basic education from the difficult cuts proposed to balance" the budget.

The district is in the process of making cuts to save $61 million by June and is starting at a $269 million deficit for the next fiscal year.

Corbett's budget includes $3.7 million to create a teacher-and-principal-evaluation tool for the state and $15.4 million to implement Keystone Exams, which high school seniors eventually will have to pass to graduate.

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