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School Financing In Pennsylvania. Equitable, adequate, and predictable public education funding for all students of PA. Historical Perspective. Public education in PA started in 1776 The State’s share of funding for public education increased from 20% in 1794 to 55% in the 1975.

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school financing in pennsylvania

School Financing In Pennsylvania

Equitable, adequate, and predictable public education funding for all students of PA

historical perspective
Historical Perspective
  • Public education in PA started in 1776
  • The State’s share of funding for public education increased from 20% in 1794 to 55% in the 1975.
  • The State’s share of funding for public education has decreased since 1975 to the current average of about 32%
today s funding system
Today’s Funding System
  • Inherently inequitable and inadequate
  • Student education is greatly influenced by zip code
national context
National Context
  • 44 out of 50 states have experienced school finance litigation
  • Most litigation is based on adequacy
  • Requires determining cost of adequate education
  • In PA - PARSS lawsuit, court put issue back in hands of legislature
our plan for pennsylvania

Our Plan for Pennsylvania

“Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of man, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.” – Horace Mann

basic education
Basic Education
  • Central distribution of resources equally to local education agencies on a per pupil basis
  • Base funding per pupil determined by cost of preparing students to proficient/advanced on PSSA test.
  • We looked at the avg. expenditure, adjusted for inflation, and compared to data on achievement and McCozzi adequacy model
  • Based funding per pupil to be provided by PA is $11,180 in 2007-2008.

Base funding shall be weighted as follows

  • Regular Ed. 1.0 x baseline
  • Limited English Proficiency 1.1 x baseline
  • Poverty 1.2 x baseline(qualify for free and reduced lunch)
  • Alternative Education 1.5 x baseline
  • Special Education excess cost
charter and cyber schools
Charter and Cyber Schools
  • Charters will be funding using same formula, but shall assume – transportation, construction, benefits, etc..
  • Charters will be monitored for adverse selection bias as it relates to LEP, Poverty, Alternative Ed, and Special Ed
  • Cyber Charters will have base funding determined by separate calculation
transportation construction
Transportation & Construction
  • Keep current subsidy models for transportation and Construction
sources of revenue
Sources of Revenue
  • This model focuses on distribution, not sources of State revenue
  • We assume that the tax revenue is centrally collected and distributed – radical idea!
  • Local school boards may levy additional taxes for local needs
  • Grants are separate from basic funding
  • Creation of Educational Equity Panel to:
    • Annually Review adequacy of base funding
    • Annually determine base funding rate for following year
    • Determine formula for Cyber Charters
educational equity panel
PA League of Urban Schools


PA Chamber of Commerce



Majority Chair of the House Education Committee

Minority Chair of the House Education Committee

Majority Chair of Senate Education Committee

Minority Chair of Senate Education Committee


Secretary of Education





Educational Equity Panel
ongoing concerns
Ongoing Concerns….
  • Is adequacy enough? Should equity be the real goal?
  • Should wealthier districts be allowed to create/perpetuate the gap between haves and have nots by funding additional programs?
  • Should school district consolidations be encouraged to minimize disparities?
implementation accountability
Implementation & Accountability

Two Approaches

  • Legislation in House and Senate to enable taxing and distribution authorities and authorize the Educational Equity Panel
  • Amend the PA constitution
    • Legislation in House and Senate
    • Passed in two consecutive sessions
    • Voted on during public election
amend pa constitution
Amend PA Constitution

“ The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth and shall appropriate funds that ensure the adequate, equitable and predictable resources to enable each child to reach state standards.”

opportunities obstacles
Opportunities & Obstacles

There appears to be public support for increasing school funding

opportunities obstacles1
Opportunities & Obstacles
  • Mobilize a grass-roots, state-wide coalition
  • Must be sustained for several years

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

- Theodore Roosevelt

our team
Our Team
  • William Bray
  • Christine Hakes
  • Carey Harris
  • William Harst
  • Amy Stewart
  • James Testerman
  • Jennifer Waltz