PA Costing-Out Study

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Commonwealth of Pennsylvania State Board of Education
Summary of Costing-Out Study

In July 2006, the General Assembly called for an independent statewide Costing-Out Study to determine the resources needed to help all students achieve the state’s academic standards.  Act 114 of 2006 required the study to address two issues – adequacy and equity.  The study of adequacy was to determine what it costs for all of our students – no matter where they live – to attain state academic standards.  The study of equity was to address the growing gap between high- and low-spending districts and the implications for the quality of education received by students and for local taxpayers.  That study, completed in December 2007, concluded that Pennsylvania was under-funding K-12 education by more than $4 billion and that the system then in place relied too heavily on local property taxes.

The study determined that 94 percent of Pennsylvania districts had inadequate resources to meet the learning needs of all their students and that 92 percent of the state’s students attended school in those districts.  This is not an isolated problem.  The study also found that due to heavy reliance on local property taxes, districts with the lowest wealth were forced to levy higher tax rates than wealthier districts but still could not raise enough revenue to finance an adequate education for all their students.

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