Governor’s Budget Cuts Funding for Kindergarten Programs
School districts all over our area are looking over budgets after the governor released the state’s proposed spending plan this week.
Districts stand to lose out on state money that helps fund all-day kindergarten and head start programs.
In Governor Corbett’s budget announcement on Tuesday, he promised public schools “level-funding”, meaning they would get no more and no less than last year.
Many school superintendents in our area say that’s not the case.
“It’s not a reality, for Scranton at least, or any other school districts that received the accountability block grant,” said Scranton Superintendent Bill King.
King said his district is one of more than 30 in the northeast that used to receive a type of state grant that’s now been eliminated in the Governor’s budget proposal.
Scranton stands to lose more than $500,000, money that it used to support all-day kindergarten. King said the district will now have to find other ways to fund the program.
“It’s helped us to be successful, because we have 61% economically disadvantaged in this district, and those kids really need the extra help of being in kindergarten for the whole day,” said King.
The nearby Riverside School District serves students from Taylor and Moosic. Superintendent David Woods said his schools will also lose funding for all-day kindergarten.
At Riverside, officials said they will try to move things around before cutting back on all-day kindergarten.
“It’s going to have to be a balanced approach, we’re going to have to look at staffing, we’re going to have to look at programs, we’re going to have to look at tax increases. We’re going to have to look at utilizing what we have left of our fund balance, all of those things combined,” Woods said.
Not all of the school districts in our area use grants to fund kindergarten programs, but no matter how they are used they are not included in the governor’s proposed budget.
The plan to cut the grant still needs approval from state lawmakers.