(July 22) Pa. needs to fix the way it pays for its public schools: As I See It

By Jim Buckheit, Nathan Mains, Jay Himes, Joseph Bard and J. Hugh Dwyer
on July 21, 2014 at 2:00 PM, updated July 21, 2014 at 2:11 PM

The Legislature passed, and the Gov. Tom Corbett recently signed, a 2014-14 state budget that invests about $10.5 billion in state funding for prekindergarten to 12th grade education.

The budget includes $100 million in additional state funding in the newly established Ready-to-Learn Block Grant program.

The additional investment in targeted initiatives such as STEM programs (science, technology, math and engineering) will prepare our students for in-demand jobs and to be the innovators our economy needs.

Lawmakers also invested an additional $20 million to support for students with special needs, increased school construction funding by $10 million and lifted the moratorium on reimbursements during this legislative session.

However, the state’s primary support for education is still distributed according to the whim of the Legislature, leaving each school district wondering annually if it will receive more, less or the same amount of state support as the previous year.

The work of the Basic Education Funding Commission cannot begin soon enough and Pennsylvania cannot afford to simply study a situation that has been well documented. Some communities have been lucky enough to receive funding increases while their neighbors have received less since the state’s last public school funding formula was eliminated in 2011.

 

Full story: Pa. needs to fix the way it pays for its public schools: As I See It By Jim Buckheit, Nathan Mains, Jay Himes, Joseph Bard and J. Hugh Dwyer, Pennlive Op-Ed, 7/21/14

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