Gov. Wolf signed House Bill 1552, which amends the Public School Code to provide a student-weighted formula for distributing basic education funding. The vote was 188-3 in the House and 49-1 in the Senate.
While praising the enactment of a permanent fair funding formula for public school, he renewed his call for the 2016-17 budget to include additional funding to restore massive cuts in 2011 and begin bringing equity into PA's school funding.
“What the Basic Education Funding Commission did was important and while Pennsylvania is no longer one of the only states without a fair funding formula, our commonwealth’s schools remain the most inequitable in the nation,” Gov. Wolf said. “The formula only works if we begin to give school districts additional funding to restore the unfairness in our school funding distribution."
AFT Pennsylvania President Ted Kirsch released the comments below:
"Pennsylvania has finally joined the majority of states, which use permanent, transparent formulas to take the politics out of distributing education funds. This is a major first step to erasing the staggering disparity between what wealthy and poor school districts in Pennsylvania spend to educate children, but it is not the end of the journey.
"No formula will ever be fair if state education funding remains – as it is today – inadequate. The Public Interest Law Center estimated recently that school districts need a minimum of $3 billion more to educate every child. So Pennsylvania legislators, we have a message for you. Your job isn’t done until all schools have enough funding to educate all children to state standards.
"As legislators work on the 2016-17 budget, we urge them to provide $400 million in additional education funding that is supported by new, stable revenue sources. During the budget process, we also ask lawmakers to distribute additional education funds first to those school districts that suffered disproportionate funding cuts in 2011-12 under then-Gov. Corbett. Restoring funding to struggling districts is essential if we are to close both the funding gap and achievement gap."
AFT Pennsylvania represents 32,000 public, private and charter school teachers and school support employees; community college and university faculty and staff; and state employees across the commonwealth. AFT Pennsylvania is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and AFL-CIO.