This week, Governor Wolf will sign legislation that will finally establish a fair, equitable formula for allocating state funds to Pennsylvania schools. Until this point, the state was one of only three in the nation without one, meaning districts across the state received state funding in an arbitrary manner.
The Basic Education Funding (BEF) Formula was created and unanimously adopted by the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission in June 2015. The formula provides sufficient, predictable and equitable funding for school districts across the commonwealth.
It includes student-based factors like:
- Number of children in the district who live in poverty
- Number of children enrolled in charter schools
- Number of children who are English language learners
It also accounts for district-based factors such as:
- Wealth of the district
- The district’s current tax effort
- Ability of the district to raise revenue
Moving forward, Governor Wolf’s 2016-17 budget includes a $200 million increase to the basic education subsidy, which would be distributed using the new BEF Formula.
This increase, along with the new funding formula, will continue to restore Pennsylvania schools from the deep cuts of 2011. This will also help to ensure that all students are getting equitable access to a quality public education — regardless of their zip code.
But we have more work to do. Even with the fair funding formula and additional education funding, we still have to keep fighting to fully restore the education cuts of 2011 and ensure that all schools in Pennsylvania have the resources they need to prepare students to succeed.
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