Pennsylvania's Governor, Tom Corbett, is quiet and boring, and never opens himself up to questions from critics. His public appearances are mainly inside corporate facilities, in the same way George W. Bush would only appear within military bases. Therefore, few people pay attention to what he is doing. But they should. He is on a crusade to destroy public universities and public schools in Pennsylvania.
Public School Cuts
Funding to public schools was cut by $860 million last year, with another $90 million cut proposed this year.
Over 14,000 jobs were lost in PA. public schools in the last year.
The cuts have been targeted towards the poorest school districts. Last year, Corbett's budget cut funding to 29 school districts by an average of over $700 per student. Those school districts had an average of 59% of their students living in poverty. Meanwhile, of the school districts that had cuts of less than $150 per student, they had an average of only 12% of students living in poverty.
PA. ranks 42nd among the 50 states in the percentage of public school costs that is funded by the state. As a result, there is massive unfairness in resources between city and rural school districts vs. suburban school districts.
If Corbett's budget is approved, PA. will be spending twice as much on prisons as on higher education.
If you total up the proposed cuts to the public colleges and need-based student college grants in PA, it comes out to $257 million. That is very close to the $247 millon cut that the Governor is proposing to a State business tax.
If Corbett's budget is approved, funding of public colleges will have been cut by one-third in 4 years. The total cut for Penn State and Pitt over 2 years will be 50 percent. However, he keeps complaining that tuition is increasing.
U. of Pittsburgh Chancellor Nordenberg said that if Corbett’s proposed cuts go through, the University’s state funding would be equal to what it was in 1987 - without consideration of any inflation. “We’re not travelling the path to becoming a private university voluntarily. With each cut, we’re becoming less public and more private,” he said."
These college cuts might make sense IF PA. had been overly generous in funding public colleges. But PA. has not. Pitt and Penn State continue to have the most expensive in-state tuition among public colleges in the US. Even BEFORE Corbett's cuts, PA. was 39th in the US among states in average funding per public college student. Now, Pa is probably down around the level of Montana.
Penn State receives much less per student in state funding than comparable state flagships. In fact, Gov. Christie's budget proposes to provide five times as much state funding per student to Rutgers as Corbett proposes to provide to Penn State.
Corbett insists he needs to reduce spending because of reduced revenues. However, that reduction in revenues was caused by Corbett. First, he delayed any fees/taxes on the rapidly expanding natural gas industry. When a fee was finally enacted this month, it was a fraction of what is charged in similar states. The delay cost $300 million.
Second, on his own, he put into effect a change in state taxes for business depreciation that has cost $200 million.
Third, he has reduced business taxes last year and this year.
Fourth, he delayed the collection of sales tax on internet transactions, costing another $200 million. Instead, people who buy items on the internet are asked to please voluntarily send in sales tax to the state.
Other states have closed the "Delaware Loophole" that allows states to shift profits to Delaware subsidiaries to avoid paying their fair share of state taxes. He has refused to act to close it.
Video: One hundred U. Pitt students use signs to explain how state cuts will affect their plans
"There’s money to be made shortchanging kids’ educations.... Most charters are big business-run factories with a driving purpose to lower costs and increase profits no matter what that does to the widgets ... I mean students, they produce. For instance, a 2004 study done by the Dept. of Education found that charter schools "are less likely than traditional public schools to employ teachers meeting state certification standards.” A national evaluation by Stanford University found that 83 percent of charter schools perform worse than public schools. And it only gets worse for cyber charter schools. Fewer than 20 percent of PA.’s cyber charters meet national standards for reading and math known as AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress).------
But the cost is so low; the profits so high! Provide a kid with a computer and software and you’re done. Maybe you have a handful of actual living, breathing teachers on staff to provide instruction via a chat room. Compare those costs with that of public schools. Just the cost of running an actual brick-and-mortar building is more. Do these schools get less in tax revenue to support them since their costs are that much less? No. Everything left over is profit. That’s money the cyber charters can use to advertise and get more students (something public schools can’t do), money they can line the pockets of like-minded legislators with or funds that management can give to itself in the form of huge bonuses.
He knows public schools, like any other organization, can’t run effectively if they aren’t funded efficiently. And if they fail, it just proves how much we need to transform our public schools into charter schools. You can already see the massive damage he’s done with the 2011-12 budget cuts. A September study by the Pennsylvania School Administrators Association and the PA. Assn. of School Business Officials indicated that this year 70 percent of school districts increased class sizes, 44 percent of school districts reduced course offerings, 35 percent of school districts reduced or eliminated tutoring programs and 14,159 school district positions were eliminated or left vacant."
Much more at the following sources: