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04/14/2021 05:05 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20210&cosponId=34094
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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: January 12, 2021 04:24 PM
From: Representative David S. Hickernell
To: All House members
Subject: Legislation to Prohibit Special Funding for Select School Districts (Former HB 976 of 2019-20 Session)
 
In recent years, state budgets have included line items and implementing language to provide “Basic Education Formula Enhancements” or “Educational Access Programs” for certain school districts. Budgets have included the following special funding:
 
  • 2017-18--$23.15 Million
  • 2016-17--$6.03 Million
  • 2015-16--$6.275 Million
  • 2014-15--$3.95 Million

It is widely known that approximately $14 Million of the Educational Access Program Funds in the 2017-18 budget went to the Erie School District. And, language was included in the Fiscal Code to make this $14 Million part of the District’s base Basic Education Funding (BEF) allocation which they would get each year.

In 2016-17, three school districts, including the Erie City SD, received this special funding totaling $2.067 Million. Of the remaining $3.963 Million that was appropriated, so far funding has gone to various non school district projects such as: libraries, museums, community centers, historical societies, and a musical theatre. So clearly, these “Educational Access Program Funds” are not only being sent to select school districts but are also being used to fund “pet” projects in certain legislative districts throughout the state.

Like many of you, I have very serious concerns about the practice of picking a few special school districts out of 500 to get a “bonus” which the other school districts do not receive. I believe it is wrong to allocate school funding dollars in this manner, especially now that we have a new fair funding formula to distribute BEF funds to school districts. In order to prevent this from being part of future budget negotiations, I plan to reintroduce legislation to prohibit such enhancements, educational access program funding, or any other supplemental funding allocations for select school districts.

Under this legislation, all funding would be required to be formula driven or distributed through a competitive grant program.

Please consider joining me in sponsoring this legislation.

Previous Cosponsors:  HICKERNELL, RYAN, DIAMOND, JAMES, BERNSTINE, B. MILLER, PICKETT, DUNBAR, PYLE, IRVIN, KEEFER, GROVE, ZIMMERMAN, MILLARD, WHEELAND, NELSON, LAWRENCE, MENTZER, GILLEN and METCALFE
 



Introduced as HB417