|Posted:||April 22, 2021 10:53 AM|
|From:||Representative Todd Stephens|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Fair Basic Education Funding – Eliminating Hold Harmless|
|We are introducing legislation to ensure Pennsylvania is providing fair basic education funding, based on current enrollment, to all Pennsylvania school districts. Since 1992, our school funding formula has included a “hold harmless” provision ensuring that school districts receive the same basic education funding they received the year before even if they are educating fewer students. Over the course of one year the impact of such a policy may have been insignificant. However, thirty years later, it is one of the most significant factors driving school funding disparities across Pennsylvania. Sixty-two percent of Pennsylvania’s school districts have fewer students today than they did in 1992. In fact, today, there are 167,000 less students in districts with declining enrollment than there were in 1992. In other words, the state is paying districts to educate 167,000 students who no longer attend those schools.
The financial impact of this misguided policy is significant. This year, the state is sending $590 million to school districts for students who no longer attend these schools thus shortchanging students in growing districts by the same amount. This is part of the reason why there is such a gross disparity in per pupil state funding of our schools – the most recent data shows some districts received more than $13,000 in state funding per pupil while others receive just $500 in state funding per pupil.
Our legislation eliminates the hold harmless provision by allocating all basic education funding to school districts through the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission’s recommended formula based on current student enrollment. We’ve attached a list detailing how each school district would be affected under our legislation.
Please join us in co-sponsoring this legislation.