|Posted:||March 31, 2021 10:07 AM|
|From:||Representative Michael H. Schlossberg|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Level Up for Equitable School Funding|
|Many school districts in Pennsylvania are severely underfunded, despite high local tax efforts. These most underfunded districts serve a disproportionate share of the Commonwealth’s students of color, students living in poverty, students with disabilities, and English learners. These large adequacy and equity gaps prevent districts from meeting the needs of hundreds of thousands of our most underserved students, limiting their educational opportunities and threatening the Commonwealth’s future workforce, tax base, and economy.
While Pennsylvania’s Basic Education Funding (BEF) formula provides weighted student funding for districts with higher levels of need, only new education spending is distributed using the formula. At the current rate of increases in state educational spending, it will take decades or more for the most underfunded districts to reach adequate funding through increases in new BEF spending; the increases are too small and spread across too many districts to close the gap.
In addition to distributing new basic education funding dollars through the formula to meet the needs of all 500 districts in Pennsylvania, a separate level up supplement is needed to accelerate the path to adequacy and equity for the 20% of districts that are most underfunded.
In the coming days I will be introducing legislation to create targeted funding that would supplement new monies flowing through the formula by distributing funds pro-rata to the 100 identified districts with the fewest resources relative to their student needs. My proposal measures resources relative to student need by using the student weights employed in the state’s current Basic Education Funding formula (BEF) and Special Education Funding formula (SEF) to measure the additional needs of students in each school district and create a weighted student count to divide into current expenditures.
The 100 identified districts include rural, suburban, and urban districts in every region. While this list includes 20% of Pennsylvania’s school districts, those districts serve:
Introduced as HB1167