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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20150&cosponId=20319
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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: June 1, 2016 03:30 PM
From: Representative David Parker and Rep. Thomas R. Caltagirone
To: All House members
Subject: Basic Education Funding Equity
 
After a year of testimony, the 2014/15 bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission reviewed the distribution of $5.5 Billion in state Basic Education Funding and unanimously reported 180 school districts were underfunded by “approximately $1 billion” annually. This massive underfunding severely impacts over 600,000 schoolchildren, 80,000 educators & staff, millions of taxpayers, real estate values and JOBS.

With the Governor’s expected signature, HB1552 adopts the new Basic Education Funding formula (“new BEF formula”) and suggests the establishment of allocating all new Basic Education Funding through this new BEF formula. While pretty in prose; in practice HB1552 will systematically continue to underfund the most severely underfunded school districts in Pennsylvania for another 25 years, or longer.

18 school districts are annually underfunded by $10 million or more. 25 school districts receive 45% less than the new BEF formula establishes for their district, but with HB1552 these underfunded districts will remain underfunded for 25 years or more.

Accordingly, House Bill 2111 incorporates the BEF Commission recommendations and allocates 75% of all new Basic Education funding proportionately to underfunded school districts; and the remaining 25% of all new Basic Education funding to all 500 school districts through the new Basic Education Formula.

Under HB2111, no school district’s Basic Education Funding will be reduced below the 2014-15 base year level. Instead, to fix years of serious underfunding, HB2111 provides for special Equity First allocations to underfunded districts to bring them to parity.

Please join us in co-sponsoring HB2111 and help us get this important legislation into law. Call or email Rep. Dave Parker if you have any questions or concerns.

In the near future, we will also be circulating co-sponsorship Memorandum for companion legislation for the other recommendations of the BEF Commission:
  • HB 2112 – The School Consolidation Fund – to incent and facilitate voluntary school district mergers and consolidations. The BEF Commission recognized that consolidation in some cases will provide a platform to achieve administrative savings and/or afford students greater learning opportunities. The Commission also recognized that the cost of studying the impact of consolidation and differences in school districts’ tax and debt situations can serve as an impediment to consolidation that may be reconcilable with some level of additional financial support.
  • HB 1944 (Sturla) – School Crossing Guard Reimbursement Bill – balances funding for bus transportation at rural schools with walking students in city/borough schools.This legislation has been introduced by State Representative Sturla.
  • HB 2117 – Homeless and Foster Care Student Information Legislation – shall direct the Department of Education to improve the accuracy of its existing data collection regiment related to Homeless Students and Students in Foster Care.The Commission recognizes that students living in homelessness and foster care are more-costly to educate and the application of weights to these factors based on reliable data may be merited.
  • HB 2118 – Student Trauma Legislation shall direct the Department of Education to develop protocols to identify students in trauma for child accounting purposes.The Commission recognizes that students in trauma are more-costly to educate and the applications of weights to this factor based on reliable data may be merited.
  • HB 2119 – Student Transiency Legislation shall direct the Department of Education to study the issue of transiency and quantify the cost to school districts related to assessment testing and remediation for transient students.The Commission recognizes that transient students may disproportionately impact school districts where affordable housing is readily available and reimbursement for these costs may be merited.





Introduced as HB2111