Senate Approves Legislation to Ensure Fair Funding for School Districts

 

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HARRISBURG (April 13, 2016) –The State Senate today again passed legislation that would fairly distribute education funds to school districts and ensure schools receive reimbursements for previously paid construction costs, according to Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34).

Corman said House Bill 1589, which was approved by a strong bipartisan vote of 37-11, directs all new state money for the current 2015-16 school year to be allocated to districts using a bipartisan funding formula established by a Basic Education Funding Commission.  It also authorizes the release of state reimbursements under the state’s Planning and Construction Workbook, otherwise known as PlanCon.

Corman said the state budget approved by lawmakers in March included an additional $200 million in basic education funding and more than $350 million in PlanCon reimbursements. The language to implement the new basic education funding formula and authorize the PlanCon reimbursements was contained in House Bill 1327, the Fiscal Code.

However, on April 4, the Governor vetoed the Fiscal Code and invented his own plan to drive out public education funding. As a result, 86 percent of Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts will receive less money under this plan than they would have received under the Basic Education Funding Formula. The veto also halted the PlanCon reimbursements.

Under the Governor’s basic education funding formula, three of the state’s 500 school districts will receive half of the overall increase. Philadelphia schools will receive an additional $78 million, including $34 million that was taken from rural school districts throughout the state.

“Rather than using a distribution formula established by a bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission, the Governor created his own politically driven plan that cut millions of dollars from rural and suburban districts and directs that money to his political allies,” Corman said.  “It is hard to understand why the Governor would choose to disregard a formula that was designed to bring more equity to education funding in the Commonwealth.”

He urged the House of Representatives to pass the legislation and move it to the Governor’s desk so that school districts will receive equitable funding as well as money that was promised to them for school construction costs.

“I am pleased that my colleagues in the Senate overwhelmingly supported this legislation to bring equality to education funding,” Corman said. “I urge Governor Wolf to put aside his partisanship and agree to fair funding for all our schools.”

Contact: Jennifer Kocher (717) 787-1377