Legislature to Reform Basic Educating Funding Formula, O’Neill Says
– In a bipartisan effort to ensure a quality educational experience for Pennsylvania students, legislation prompting an examination of the state’s K-12 education funding method was signed into law, said Rep. Bernie O’Neill (R-Bucks), author of the measure.
Act 51 of 2014 establishes a bipartisan commission to study and make recommendations for a new statewide formula for dispensing funding to Pennsylvania public schools, operating in a similar manner to the Special Education Funding Commission established last year.
“We applied some of the ideas we found to be very successful in the past to the new commission, this time with a broader aim,” O’Neill said. “Many of our public schools are underfunded, many are overfunded – it’s time we establish a more equitable way of driving out state dollars to the institutions responsible for preparing our young people for the future that awaits them.”
The Basic Education Funding Commission will be comprised of equal representation 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.
“Our current system is very antiquated and fails to recognize the differing needs of school districts with increasing or decreasing enrollment levels,” O’Neill explained. “Over the next year, we will be holding hearings, looking at real data and receiving input from school districts and charter operators to create a new system based on true student counts and costs to educate.”
Under the new law, the Basic Education Funding Commission is expected to issue a report of its findings and recommendations within one year.
“Ultimately, it’s about ensuring our public schools are armed with the resources necessary to provide students with a quality learning experience,” O’Neill said. “Our Commonwealth, our children, our families and our schools cannot afford another year of inequitable school funding.”
Representative Bernie O’Neill
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Abbey Fosnot