Contact Information 

District Office
1555 Highlands Drive
Suite 110
Lititz, PA 17543
Phone:  (717) 626-1776
FAX:  (717) 626-4234

Capitol Office
51A East Wing
PO Box 202097
Harrisburg PA 17120-2097
Phone: (717) 787-1776

E-Mail:  
smentzer@pahousegop.com

Fair Education Funding Formula Explained
6/3/2016
Recently, I have written about the importance of implementing the fair basic education funding formula that was recommended by the bipartisan Basic Education Commission. I wish to explain how the formula drives out funding to Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts to provide background on the state’s complex education funding issue. While many in Harrisburg are quick to say that the answer to providing a quality education for our students is additional funding, through increased personal income or sales taxes, the truth is we can maximize the state’s investment in education by carefully reviewing and implementing the funding formula.

School districts receive revenue from a variety of sources, including grants from the federal government, local property and earned income taxes, and a number of subsidies from the state as well. The state’s chief subsidy to school district comes through the basic education funding line item of the state budget. This year’s budget included nearly $6 billion in the basic education funding line item including a $150 million increase from last year, which is nearly 20 percent of our state budget. This $150 million in new funding is driven out under the basic education funding formula.

The fair basic education funding formula considers many factors in driving out dollars. The most important factor however, is average student attendance. The new funding formula uses a 3 year average of daily attendance as a baseline. Previous iterations of the funding formula used average daily attendance data from 1990, which is one of the primary factors that disadvantaged school districts in our area that have grown over the past two decades.

The baseline of average attendance also considers other factors, like how many students in a district come from families in poverty, how many English language learners, or how many students attend charter schools.

The formula then considers the economic health of a school district. Factors like household income, average property value, and the geography of a school district are included as well. There are educational issues with sparsely populated school districts that cover a large geographic area. For example, the state’s largest school district, Keystone Central, covers nearly one-thousand square miles, over 10 times the size of Manheim Township and Warwick combined. The formula also takes into consideration how much residents are taxed in any particular school district.

This formula is comprehensive in nature and takes into consideration many factors that were previously overlooked in past versions. It provides equity in school funding by carefully balancing the needs of each district. Most importantly, the fair education funding formula will greatly benefit our local schools. I will continue to fight for the permanent implementation of this formula in Harrisburg.

Representative Steven Mentzer
97th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Eric Reath
717.260.6187
ereath@pahousegop.com
RepMentzer.com / Facebook.com/RepMentzer
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