On June 4th, 2019, PASBO and PASA jointly released our 2019 Spring Budget Report analyzing school district budgets and the major factors that impact financial planning and fiscal stress. Not surprisingly, the three areas of state mandated costs were ranked the primary contributors to fiscal stress: special education, charter school tuition, and pensions.
Collectively, these three mandated costs increased $703.9 million in 2017-18 over the prior 2018-19 school year. Compared to the increase in local property taxes, state basic education funding, state special education funding and the state pension reimbursement subsidy, mandated costs for special education, charter school tuition and pensions accounted for $0.89 of every new dollar in revenue to school districts.
Individually, mandated cost growth was the following: charter school tuition costs grew by 10.18%, and school districts paid charter schools $1.8 billion in 2017-18. Likewise, pension costs increased by nearly 10.76% to $3.7 billion and special education costs grew by 4.26% to $4.6 billion in 2017-18.