Be careful fixing education funding
To the Times:
Your recent editorial, “The cold, hard reality of education funding in Pa,” was spot-on in assessing the problems with education funding in Pennsylvania – until its suggested solution to immediately redistribute all state basic education funding through the state’s new school funding formula.
That “solution” would require a massive redistribution of existing dollars, slashing hundreds of millions of dollars from
357 school districts that educate nearly 813,000 students statewide. According to the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (the ones who must balance school budgets), the average cut would amount to
$42,000 per classroom, requiring school districts to cut their already tight budgets by another 10 percent. Among those getting a windfall: school districts like Lower Merion, one of the wealthiest communities in the state, which already spends about $25,000 per student, more than twice what some of the losing districts have to spend.
The bottom line is that Pennsylvania’s public schools need more state funding, period. Shrinking slices of a pie that’s too small to make bigger slices for others simply redistributes the pain. The only solution is growing the pie, increasing state funding so all students in every school district get the resources they need.
Aside from the policy flaws in your editorial’s “solution,” it’s simply not politically viable. Can we expect the legislators who represent 357 of the state’s 500 school districts to stand for such dramatic cuts to their own schools? To coin a phrase from your editorial, “For some reason we don’t see that happening.”
Susan Spicka, Executive Director, Education Voters of PA