McKeesport, neighboring school districts to receive more overall funding from state
Gov. Tom Corbett's signing of a 2014-15 state budget seems to settle how much school districts will receive from Harrisburg in the coming year.
Based on estimates provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, there will be more money, but not for basic subsidies, which will be the same as 2013-14, ranging from $5,314,689 for West Jefferson Hills to $23,318,050 for McKeesport Area.
“This budget directs funding to areas that will support student achievement and ensure that students are prepared for postsecondary success, whether they choose to enter the workforce, further their education or enlist in the military,” Corbett said on July 10.
But it doesn't settle the debate over funding public education, likely to continue into the fall election campaign.
“Senate Republicans will praise the $300 million added to education in their spending plan, without mentioning that these funds are only a small step to restore the $1 billion cuts in education spending authored by the governor throughout his tenure,” Senate Appropriations Minority Chairman Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia, said on June 30.
Notably, there is the replacement of Accountability Block Grants with Ready To Learn block grants, using what the state Department of Education calls a student-focused funding formula, using a school's student population adjusted by an aid ratio, while adding supplemental funding for economically disadvantaged students and those for whom English is a second language.
The resultant grant is 142 percent greater than the Accountability Block Grant in West Jefferson Hills, 131 percent in Norwin, 103 percent in South Allegheny, 98 percent in West Mifflin Area, 86 percent in East Allegheny, 82 percent in Elizabeth Forward, 77 percent in McKeesport Area, 76 percent in Clairton, 75 percent in Steel Valley and 54 percent in Duquesne.
Much of the funding will go toward increasing state pension reimbursements, from a $677,875 hike to $2,562,255 in Norwin to a $117,213 raise to $443,047 in Duquesne.
In all, Duquesne is projected to get $209,258 more in state funding in 2014-15, the smallest Mon-Yough increase but going to a distressed district already getting extra state aid.
Harrisburg's total contribution to Duquesne is projected to rise from nearly $10.19 million in 2013-14 to just under $10.4 million.
“The dual goal of Duquesne's recovery plan is to improve education for the students of Duquesne and stabilize finances for the Duquesne City School District,” court-appointed Duquesne receiver Paul B. Long said.
“The pursuit of these goals is being underwritten primarily by the commonwealth, which provides 81 percent of Duquesne's general fund revenue,” Long went on. “Other revenues are from local sources at 11 percent and federal sources at 8 percent.”
Local shares of budgets elsewhere are normally closer to about half of what can be expected from state government.
Elsewhere, the net projected gain is $287,707 for Clairton, $468,936 for South Allegheny, $514,898 for Steel Valley, $586,608 for West Jefferson Hills, $623,515 for East Allegheny, $718,697 for Elizabeth Forward, $832,713 for West Mifflin Area, $1,081,815 for Norwin and $1,402,828 for McKeesport Area.
Other categories for state funding include special education and contributions to employee Social Security and transportation costs. As broken down by PDE:
• Clairton would go from $8,919,139 to $9,206,846, including a basic subsidy of $6,835,537, special education funding up from $1,000,850 to $1,030,432, replacement of a $101,362 Accountability Block Grant with a $178,614 Ready To Learn grant; hikes in retirement payments from $464,636 to $631,781 and Social Security payments from $345,223 to $355,486; and increases in pupil transportation from $143,040 to $146,210 for Clairton Education Center and $28,490 to $28,786 for nonpublic and charter students.
• Duquesne would go from $10,187,902 to $10,397,160, including a $8,573,762 basic subsidy; special education funding up from $617,037 to $637,378; replacement of a $110,911 ABG with a $170,449 RTL; hikes for retirement from $325,834 to $443,047 and Social Security from $117,278 to $120,765; and increases in pupil transportation from $346,445 to $354,122 for public schools and $96,635 to $97,637 for nonpublic and charter students.
• East Allegheny would go from $10,270,991 to $10,894,506, including a $6,110,007 basic subsidy; special education funding up from $1,098,918 to $1,138,912; replacement of a $161,135 ABG with a $300,427 RTL; hikes for retirement from $1,116,259 to $1,517,815 and Social Security from $574,718 to $591,804; and increases in pupil transportation from $1,106,004 to $1,130,513 for public schools and $103,950 to $105,028 for nonpublic and charter students.
• Elizabeth Forward would go from $14,007,117 to $14,725,814, including a $8,957,852 basic subsidy; special education funding up from $1,651,835 to $1,692,231; replacement of a $199,623 ABG with a $364,189 RTL; hikes for retirement from $1,296,055 to $1,762,290 and Social Security from $755,749 to $778,217; and increases in pupil transportation from $1,115,018 to $1,139,727 for public schools and $31,185 to $31,508 for nonpublic and charter students.
• McKeesport Area would go from $31,996,038 to $33,398,866, including a $23,318,050 basic subsidy; special education funding up from $2,921,006 to $2,994,289; replacement of a $404,611 ABG with a $717,935 RTL; hikes for retirement from $2,640,006 to $3,589,705 and Social Security from $1,188,069 to $1,223,390; and increases in pupil transportation from $1,305,617 to $1,334,549 for public schools and $218,680 to $220,948 for nonpublic and charter students.
• Norwin would go from $22,414,122 to $23,495.937, including a $15,364,524 basic subsidy; special education funding up from $2,511,112 to $2,562,919; replacement of a $222,586 ABG with a $513,404 RTL; hikes for retirement from $1,884,380 to $2,562,255 and Social Security from $1,175,698 to $1,210,651; and increases in pupil transportation from $1,131,466 to $1,156,539 for public schools and $124,355 to $125,645 for nonpublic and charter students.
• South Allegheny would go from $12,359,776 to $12,828,712, including a $9,336,255 basic subsidy; special education funding up from $1,056,378 to $1,091,638; replacement of a $132,847 ABG with a $269,153 RTL; hikes for retirement from $751,770 to $1,022,207 and Social Security from $432,642 to $445,504; and increases in pupil transportation from $621,779 to $635,558 for public schools and $28,105 to $28,397 for nonpublic and charter students.
• Steel Valley would go from $11,587,711 to $12,102,609, including a $8,572,782 basic subsidy; special education funding up from $1,270,269 to $1,303,346; replacement of a $163,215 ABG with a $285,034 RTL; hikes for retirement from $951,486 to $1,293,767 and Social Security from $498,086 to $512,894; and increases in pupil transportation from $131,102 to $134,008 for public schools and $770 to $778 for nonpublic and charter students in a district that does not provide school buses.
• West Jefferson Hills would go from $9,634,465 to $10,221,073, including a $5,314,689 basic subsidy; special education funding up from $1,686,526 to $1,708,096; replacement of a $105,529 ABG with a $255,703 RTL; hikes for retirement from $1,049,134 to $1,426,543 and Social Security from $719,088 to $740,466; and increases in pupil transportation from $695,589 to $711,003 for public schools and $63,910 to $64,573 for nonpublic and charter schools.
• West Mifflin Area would go from $12,011,665 to $12,844,378, including a $6,535,073 basic subsidy; special education funding up from $1,841,244 to $1,890,923; replacement of a $194,523 ABG with a $385,830 RTL; hikes for retirement from $1,509,421 to $2,052,410 and for Social Security from $891,794 to $918,307; and increases in pupil transportation from $970,695 to $992,205 for public schools and $68,915 to $69,630 for nonpublic and charter schools.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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