Meaningful, Impactful Legislation
In order to solve the problem of inequitable education funding, we need Pennsylvania’s lawmakers to put their money where their mouth is. We believe lawmakers must support meaningful, impactful legislation that will funnel 100% of the Education Budget through the Fair Funding Formula. Efforts should be made to combine fair funding reform with other legislation such as charter and special education funding reforms, mandate relief, and an increase in overall education spending in order to ensure that every district has the resources it needs to educate its students.
Current Fair Funding Proposals:
Senate Bill 123, introduced by Senator Lisa Boscola, would phase out hold harmless over the course of 4 years. It does not increase funding but would ensure that funding is equitably distributed based on the Fair Funding Formula. Some school districts would see a decrease in their state funding.
House Bill 1167, also known as Level Up, would provide a 100 million dollar permanent equity supplement to the 100 most under-resourced districts. This includes some districts who are currently getting more than their state fair share but have high poverty and need and low per-student spending.
In June 2021, 100 million dollars was distributed to the Level Up districts.
There are additional proposals in the pipeline, including a constitutional amendment to get rid of Hold Harmless and a bill to distribute most new education funding only to shortchanged districts.
Also of note:
Governor Wolf’s 2021-2022 Budget Proposal aimed to address Pennsylvania’s severe funding inequities through a 1.3B increase to education funding, with most of those dollars going toward districts currently receiving less than their fair share. It also ensured no district would lose state funds. This new funding was to be raised through a restructuring of the Personal Income Tax, effectively raising the tax from 3.07% to 4.49% while expanding the tax forgiveness levels for lower and middle income Pennsylvanians. A later proposal from the Governor suggested that no new taxes would need to be raised due to a significant budget surplus.
In June 2021, the legislature declined to adopt the Governor’s proposal, extending Pennsylvania’s deeply inequitable funding for an additional year.
You can read our statement on the 2021-2022 education budget below.
While there were multiple proposed bills in the House and Senate, the current legislation session is ending and these proposed bills will need to be resurrected or new ones created to address the issue.