Pa. needs funding formula
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association believes the state Basic Education Funding Commission's proposed formula is a great step forward to adequate, equitable and fair school funding. The commonwealth is one of only three states in the nation without a funding formula for public education.
The time is now for a bipartisan effort to move the funding formula across the finish line and pass legislation putting it into place.
A formula will go a long way to help school entities develop their annual budgets. It will help with the equitable distribution of funding to alleviate the current disparities in how state dollars are allocated.
The proposed formula contains many elements PSBA has advocated — counting students consistently; student weights that consider district poverty levels, the number of “English Language Learners” in the district and local tax efforts, among others.
We have long advocated for a predictable and sustainable method for funding public schools. By implementing the proposed formula, school districts will have a greater degree of certainty on funding, allowing them to plan more accurately for the upcoming school year's budget.
For the formula to work best, the state must continue to value the importance of investing in our schools and children by properly funding public education. We look forward to working with the General Assembly and governor's office on this issue.
The author is the PSBA's executive director.