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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 4, 2019 11:25 AM
From: Representative Marty Flynn and Rep. Kyle J. Mullins
To: All House members
Subject: Basic Education Funding for Underfunded School Districts
The 2014-2015 bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC) reviewed the distribution of over $5.5 billion in state basic education funding and recommended a new formula for all subsequent years. Under this now current BEFC formula, there is no specific dollar amount allocated to each school district. Instead, each district receives a percentage of the total funding made available each year by the legislative budgeting process. The percentage allocated to each district is tied to its share of the student population. However, each district is not given the same amount of funding per student, as such a standard would ignore disparities in local resources and the reality that some students require more resources than others to succeed.

Although this new formula works to distribute money fairly and predictably among the 500 school districts according to the true cost drivers of educating children, many districts are being short-changed due to the practice of “hold harmless.” Hold harmless is the Commonwealth’s policy of providing all school districts with at least as much basic education as they received in the preceding fiscal year. No new money appropriated by the legislature to basic education funding is subject to hold harmless provisions. At this time, overfunded and underfunded school districts both receive funding at their 2014-2015 levels plus their “fair” share of 100 percent percent of any “new” money (that is, money appropriated that is not subject to hold harmless) under the BEFC formula.

This legislation would, beginning with the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year, allocate 75 percent of all new basic education funding proportionately to underfunded school districts, with the remaining 25 percent of all new Basic Education funding to all 500 school districts through the student-weighted BEFC formula. Importantly, under this legislation, no school district’s basic education funding would be reduced below the 2014-2015 base year level, and all districts would receive new monies annually. Instead, to mitigate years of serious underfunding, this legislation provides for a higher proportion of the “new” money to be allocated to underfunded districts in order to bring them to parity.

Please join us in sponsoring this important measure to more quickly bring equitable funding to all of the state’s school districts.

Introduced as HB1790