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12/05/2019 11:03 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=28596
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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 1, 2019 05:14 PM
From: Representative Jim Cox
To: All House members
Subject: Gradual Phase-Out of the Hold Harmless Method of Education Funding
 
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In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that will GRADUALLY remove a previous practice, known as “hold harmless,” from the Basic Education Funding (BEF) formula.

In 2016, the General Assembly passed Act 35 to enact a new BEF formula identical to a recommendation in the BEF Commission’s Final Report. Hold harmless is the practice of guaranteeing that a school district receives no less than the same amount of state basic education dollars that it received in the prior fiscal year. With enactment of the new formula, the base year is the amount received by a district in the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

This benefits shrinking school districts which receive the same or more funding each year, despite having fewer students. Meanwhile, districts with growing enrollments are adversely impacted, because the BEF formula prevents the distribution of these same dollars to districts with increased student populations.

My legislation reduces the amount of BEF that school districts receive through the guaranteed base amount from 2014-2015 of the BEF formula by reducing the base by 20 percent each fiscal year. The amount removed from the base will be distributed through the BEF Commission’s student-weighted formula. Upon the fifth year, there will no longer be a guaranteed base level of funding.

Please join me in supporting this important piece of legislation to provide more equitable funding to our school districts. If you have any questions, please contact my office.

PRIOR CO-SPONSORS: BARRAR, DIAMOND, GILLEN, HILL-EVANS, JOZWIAK, KAUFFMAN, MILLARD, B. MILLER, ROTHMAN, SIMMONS, STEPHENS, TOOHIL and WHEELAND
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Introduced as HB1313