The money actually disappeared two years ago when the economy went south and tax revenues declined for practically all levels of government. As you can see in the chart below, state funding declined in the last two budgets and was more than made up for with Federal funds (stimulus money). So paradoxically the increased local funding in education for those years occurred while state funding declined. This year the state has increased it’s basic education funding by $104,803,000 but since there is no more additional federal monies coming in overall there is a decrease!
This graph came from the state Department of Education
The fact that the stimulus money was temporary and would only last two years was a known factor to everyone one involved and paying attention to the funding process. Like the business manager of North Penn school district:
“We saw what was coming with economic stimulus money two years ago. The stimulus money was being used to make up the basic education subsidy and the revenues were not going to bounce back to sustain current levels,” he said.
The point? Asking for money that isn’t there, or not sustainable like the stimulus money was will only set up a bigger financial shortfall in the future. In the long run that would make it WORSE for the arts, music, gym, etc. The stimulus money could have been used as a bridge – two years to get prepared for economic reality. Instead too many school districts operated as if they could ignore that reality. Now it comes knocking at the door.
I have taken a page form NASD’s preliminary budget from February and posted it HERE. You can go across the State revenue line and the Federal revenue line and see the change that occurred in funding sources from the 08-09, 09-10, & 10-11 budgets.
NASD Fed & State revenue sheet at Google Docs