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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: May 3, 2019 04:05 PM
From: Representative P. Michael Sturla
To: All House members
Subject: Including Trauma as a Factor in the School Funding Formula
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and childhood trauma have manifested into a true epidemic throughout the Commonwealth and the nation, impacting all demographics regardless of zip code, race, gender, and wealth. Our children battle the front lines of the ongoing opioid crisis, rising incarceration rates, domestic and community violence, and so much more. As we discuss and analyze school safety initiatives throughout Pennsylvania, it is imperative that we are not only supporting the physical hardware (metal detectors, cameras, automatic locks, etc.), but also the overall health and well-being of our students and teachers.

In the past, we have been unable to find a definitive measuring tool to quantify trauma for the purpose of providing funding to school districts. However, research has shown that students who are chronically absent, homeless, and living within the foster care system have experienced more trauma than the average child and should be prioritized for support services. Therefore, I am introducing legislation to include chronic absenteeism, homelessness, and students living in foster care, definitive proxies of trauma that school districts are already mandated to measure, in the school funding formula based on the recommendations of the 2015 Basic Education Funding Commission Report.

Helping our students overcome adversity and removing significant barriers to learning should be a top priority. I ask you to join me in making sure these factors are considered when allocating funding to schools.

Introduced as HB1638