A survey of traditional Pennsylvania school districts paints a grim picture for the coming academic year, with most respondents bracing for higher costs and fewer resources.
Just over half of the state's school districts responded to the fourth annual study conducted by the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators and the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials. The survey did not include responses from public charter or cyber charter schools.
About two-thirds of the respondents said they had increased class sizes or expected to do so in the coming school year. Nearly 90 percent said they had reduced staff or plan to do so through furloughs or not filling vacant positions, and 77 percent said they expected to raise property taxes in the coming year.
Ninety percent of responding districts reported making some change to transportation, with most of them canceling or combining bus routes.
"What this means is that with fewer buses and fewer stops, kids are riding the bus longer," said Jeff Ammerman of PASBO.
Most of the respondents reported seeing rising mandated costs in areas such as health care, special education, and payments to charter schools.