O’Neill Legislation to Examine Basic Education Funding Formula
HARRISBURG – After his legislation established a commission to examine the state funding formula for special education earlier this year, Rep. Bernie O’Neill (R-Bucks) today took another step toward equitable funding for Pennsylvania schools by introducing a bill to address K-12 education.
“Examining the funding formula for special education is simply one step in the process of fair funding for education in Pennsylvania,” said O’Neill. “We must also address the issue of basic education funding to ensure our schools have the ability to provide a quality education to all of our students.”
House Bill 1738
would establish a commission to study and make recommendations for a new formula for distributing state funding to basic education, operating in a similar manner as the Special Education Funding Commission created under O’Neill’s House Bill 2 (Act 3 of 2013).
Under O’Neill’s legislation, the established commission would be comprised of members from the House and Senate majority and minority caucuses, along with representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the governor’s administration.
Commission members would be tasked with developing a formula that takes into account each school district’s market value/personal income aid ratio, equalized millage rate, geographic price differences, enrollment levels, local support and other factors.
“All of these factors have an impact on the financial stability of our schools and education programs,” O’Neill added. “We must take them into consideration, along with feedback from school districts and charter operators, in order to ensure the formula we develop is fair and reflective of student population.”
The commission would be expected to issue a report of its findings and recommendations one year from the date of enactment, following a series of public hearings. Recommendations would not take effect unless enacted by the General Assembly.
“The format we have used for the Special Education Funding Commission has allowed us to obtain a wealth of valuable information that we will use to develop a more equitable formula to fund programs for children with special needs,” O’Neill said. “I am confident this format will also help us create a workable funding formula for basic education – one that is long overdue.”
House Bill 1738 has more than 40 co-sponsors and currently awaits consideration by the House Education Committee.
Representative Bernie O’Neill
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Abbey Fosnot