Sunday, September 22, 2013

Media Advisory and Background for September 23rd Pennsylvania School Funding Press Event

Pennsylvanians Want a School Funding Formula
Press Event Monday September 23rd, 11:30 am Capitol Rotunda, Harrisburg
Grassroots Advocacy by Education Voters PA; Education Matters in the CumberlandValley and the Keystone State Education Coalition
Every child in Pennsylvania deserves an opportunity to learn, whether they are from large or small, rich or not-so-rich, urban, suburban or rural school districts, charter schools or cyber schools; whether their legislator is a freshman state representative or a senate officer.

Education Voters of Pennsylvania
Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley
Keystone State Education Coalition
Media Contacts:
Chris Lilienthal, 717-829-4823 (Pre-Press Conference Contact)
Susan Gobreski, 267-972-8066 (On-site Press Conference Contact)
Advocates Come to PA Capitol to Make Public Call for 'Thorough and Efficient System of Education'
Press Conference Monday, Sept. 23 at 11:30 a.m. in Capitol Rotunda
HARRISBURG, PA — Parents, teachers, superintendents, community members, and other education advocates will gather for a press conference at the State Capitol on Monday, Sept. 23 at 11:30 a.m. to highlight the ongoing problems schools face as a result of state funding cuts and the lack of a rational school funding formula.
The only service that Pennsylvania is required to provide in the state Constitution is a “thorough and efficient system of education.” The community leaders headed to Harrisburg on Sept. 23 will demand that our state lawmakers make this constitutional responsibility their first priority in the fall legislative session so that every student in Pennsylvania has an opportunity to learn.
Advocates have already collected 1,282 signatures (coming from 219 districts in 51 counties) on a petition that states: The Pennsylvania General Assembly must adopt a fair education funding formula AND provide the funding investments needed to ensure that every student has an opportunity to learn.
WHAT: Pennsylvania citizens to join public call for fair and full funding of our schools
WHEN: Monday, September 23, 2013, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
WHERE: Main Rotunda, State Capitol, Harrisburg, PA (Directions here)
WHO: Parents, teachers, superintendents, community members, education advocates, state lawmakers, and concerned citizens from school districts across Pennsylvania — rural, urban and suburban; large and small; wealthy and poor; traditional and charter, including the following:
              Midstate: Camp Hill, Harrisburg, Cumberland Valley, Gettysburg, Mechanicsburg, Central Dauphin, South Middleton, Shippensburg, Greencastle-Antrim, Derry Township, Solanco, School District of Lancaster, Fannett-Metal, Carlisle
              Southeast PA: Haverford, Upper Darby, Radnor, Upper Merion, Centennial, William Penn, Philadelphia, Cheltenham, Colonial, New Hope-Solebury
              Lehigh Valley: Southern Lehigh, Parkland, Northwestern Lehigh
              Western PA: Wilmington Area, Clairton
To learn more about public education, visit

PA One of Only Three States Without Education Funding Formula
No accuracy, fairness, or transparency possible without sound formula
Education Law Center  February 28, 2013
Pennsylvania is a national outlier when it comes to following basic budgeting principles — accuracy, fairness, and transparency — that most states use when it comes to public school funding, according to a new report from the Education Law Center. 
The statewide, non-profit organization examined how each of the 50 states calculates and distributes education dollars. The report shows that Pennsylvania is in the minority when it comes to basic budgeting practices used by most states.
  • 47 states use an accurate student count when calculating and distributing education dollars. Pennsylvania does not.
  • 37 states recognize different student costs when calculating and distributing education dollars. Pennsylvania does not.
  • 47 states recognize different district costs when calculating and distributing education dollars. Pennsylvania does not.

Read the Education Law Center report:

“According to the Philadelphia Public School Notebook and WHYY/NewsWorks, 33 of the 37 lawmakers who represent the 21 districts that received extra funds are legislative leaders, committee chairs, vice chairs or secretaries.”
Legislators give $30.3M to 21 school districts behind closed doors
Lancaster gets $2.4 million surprise but cash-strapped Columbia doesn't get a dime
Lancaster Online By JEFF HAWKES  Staff Writer Originally Published Jul 21, 201306:00
Twenty-one of Pennsylvania's 500 school districts got a nice surprise in the state's new budget: extra cash for these tough times.  Districts large, small and in-between benefited, including the Allentown schools, with nearly 19,000 students, the School District ofLancaster, with 11,200, and a rural Potter County district, with only 184 pupils.
But cash-strapped Columbia School District was not among the lucky 21. Because the district struggles to meet the needs of nearly 1,000 poor children in a borough with a weak tax base, Laura Cowburn wonders why it was left out.

Advocates, lawmakers say Pa. education aid tied to political clout
By Holly Otterbein @hollyotterbein and Dale Mezzacappa for the Notebook July 11, 2013
When Pennsylvania's Republican-led legislature added more than $30 million in education aid to Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed budget last month, lawmakers decided to target $14.5 million to districts with high numbers of English-language learners and $4 million to districts with large concentrations of students in charter schools.
But they managed to devise the formulas for these supplements in such a way that Philadelphia's school district, which has nearly half of the state's charter students and one-quarter of its English-language learners, got none of these funds. This in a year when the district was desperately begging Corbett and legislature for additional state aid just to remain solvent.
In fact, the extra money for schools impacted by charters and ELL students went to only six districts around the state — most of it, perhaps not coincidentally, in communities represented by powerful legislators.

 “Since 1991-92 there has been no set formula for providing funds for schools. 65% of all funds now distributed in this school year are based on statistics from the 1989-90 school year. It is, however, noteworthy that a six-year formula-driven plan was proposed in Fiscal Year 2008-2009. The plan failed because only parts of it were ever implemented during FY 2008-09 and 2009-10, and the General Assembly chose to abandon any further references to the plan in subsequent years.”
The Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools
Written by Janice Bissett and Arnold Hillman Updated September 2013
The following monograph was commissioned by the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS).  During the constant debates over the fairness of our current system of school funding in the Commonwealth, there did not seem to be a concise reference that included all of the various ways of funding schools over the many years of public education.

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