|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 8, 2021
Contact: Kirstin Snow, email@example.com
STATEMENT- In Support of Governor Wolf’s Education Funding Budget Plan
From Marc Stier, Director, PA Budget and Policy Center
“For a very long time, K-12 school funding in Pennsylvania has been highly inequitable. We have the most unequal school funding in the country, with schools in higher-income districts spending 33% more than schools in lower-income districts. The gap between what schools spend per student and what an adequate education would require them to spend, according to state standards, is almost four times greater in predominantly Black or Hispanic districts than in predominantly white districts. Property taxes in some parts of the state are far higher than average.
These inequities are caused by two state policies. The first is that the state share of K-12 school funding is about 12 points below the national average of about 50%. The second is that the state has had a fair formula for distributing state funds to school districts for only five years and only 11% of state aid is now distributed by that formula.
Governor Wolf’s February budget proposal includes a plan that addresses both problems. It increases the share of state funding that flows through the fair funding formula to 85%. And it adds more than $1 billion to the basic education funds that flow to K-12 schools. It also ensures that no school district will receive less next year than it does this year.
Our analysis of this plan shows that while it would not totally eliminate the economic or racial inequity in school funding, it would take a major step in that direction. The gap between what schools spend per student and what is needed to give them an adequate education would be dramatically reduced for the vast majority of districts, while the economic and racial differences in that gap would be sharply reduced.
The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center strongly supports the governor’s plan and thus is grateful that he and the Democratic leaders of the PA House and Senate are standing together in support of it.
We would support this proposal even if it required an increase in state taxes. But thanks to the strong economic recovery from the pandemic recession created by the CARES Act and American Recovery Plan, the state is bringing in sufficient revenue to adopt the governor’s tax proposal without requiring any new tax increases. Thus, there is no excuse for inaction. It’s time for the General Assembly to take a dramatic step forward in equitably and adequately funding our schools.”
|The Keystone Research Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that promotes a more prosperous and equitable Pennsylvania economy. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is a nonpartisan policy research project that provides independent, credible analysis on state tax, budget, and related policy matters, with attention to the impact of current or proposed policies on working families.|