Pennsylvania's school funding system is broken. PA is one of only three states that does not use a formula to allocate state funding to school districts and has the dubious distinction of having the most inequitable school funding system in the nation. Because of our state's heavy reliance on property taxes to fund education, schools that educate the poorest students receive one third fewer state and local tax dollars than the most affluent districts. This is simply wrong.
It is time for our state government to step up and fix its broken school funding system. State lawmakers MUST implement the funding formula recommended by the bi-partisan Basic Education Funding Commission and commit to providing long-term, sustainable funding increases to schools so that all children in Pennsylvania have an opportunity to learn.
Education Voters is a founding member of the Campaign for Fair Education Funding, a coalition of more than 50 statewide organizations whose goal is to ensure that every student has access to a quality education no matter where they live.
Money Matters when it comes to education
For a PDF version of our whole brief: Money Matters
Money impacts class size which matters, especially in the early grades. Giving teachers smaller “caseloads” means more individual attention for students, more tailored lesson plans, more specific feedback to students, and more in-depth learning. Art and music are supported by research, as well as extended learning time.
The biggest potential for change lies in how well we develop school leadership. We need to recruit excellent teachers and principals, respect them as professionals and provide good compensation packages. Training staff, analyzing data, goal setting, follow up, planning, giving people feedback and quality evaluations –all these beneficial things take time. We need to provide school staff with this time – which means adequate staffing levels, staff support for principals, and planning time for teachers. All of these things have a cost associated with them.
Developing a Sensible Approach to Funding Our Schools
For a PDF version of our brief: Developing a Sensible Approach to Funding our Schools
The fundamental key to school funding is student learning: enough resources and fairness, which means providing every child a chance to learn and meet state standards. The key to fixing school funding is having a rational way to drive out funding and fixing what is inequitable now. We are very glad both aspects of this were acknowledged by the Commission members in the release of the report.
Pennsylvania must move toward a rational, sustainable funding structure. This will eliminate the use (or misuse) of power and political struggles; be fair to communities large and small and most importantly, give every student an opportunity to learn.
For more information, please read our policy briefs below: