Federal stimulus money warped Pennsylvania's education budget both upward and downward during the last three years, and the state's 500 school districts and 12.6 million taxpayers are beginning to see the consequences.
Beginning in the 2009-10 budget year, Pennsylvania school districts received a boost in funding from the federal stimulus. At the same time, the state reduced its spending level for basic education, allowing the federal dollars to make up the difference.
Now, in the first state budget after the federal stimulus has disappeared, a $500 million reduction in state spending on education is the result of the federal stimulus increasing, and then decreasing, education dollars.
Lawmakers and school districts are left to grapple with the problem.