Superintendent concerned about state education budget

At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, East Lycoming superintendent Michael Pawlik presented an analysis of the effects Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed 2013-14 budget will have on the district’s bottom line.

“This is a really interesting budget year,” Pawlik said. “Before the governor has said ‘this is how many eggs are in my budget, and these are the baskets I want to put them in,’ and then the legislature has responded this year’s budget is like a geometry proof – if this happens, then that happens.”

Making some education funding dependent on the sale of state liquor stores is one example of that mentality, Pawlik said.

“I find it to be a very difficult pill to swallow, that we’re making the kids dependent on what gets passed,” Pawlik said. “Our major funding sources for education are liquor and gambling. What does that say about our state?”

A proposed weighted-average funding formula will take districts’ average daily student population into account and adjust reimbursements accordingly.

Under the proposed budget, the district will receive about $101,000 in general education monies that previously were earmarked for the public school retirement system and receive another $101,000 from the $100 million in accountability block grant funds.

“We’ll be hearing a lot about competency-based learning,” Pawlik said. “The administration wants to do away with clock hours and make classes more like menu options for students.”

Should the current cyberschool reform bill before the legislature pass, the district will see a decrease of 13 percent in cyberschool contributions for a savings of about $50,000.