– Rep. David Parker (R-Monroe) has introduced a series of amendments to House Bill 1460
that are designed to transition the state's current basic education funding to a new formula recommended by the Basic Education Funding Commission.
Unlike the old funding formula that was passed with no public input, transparency or equitable considerations, the Basic Education Funding Commission recommended the new formula based on actual data from constituencies that included advocacy groups, school superintendents, citizens, lobbyists, legislators and Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration. Applying the new formula to the current pool of $5.6 billion in basic education funds revealed that 320 school districts are presently overfunded and that 180 school districts are underfunded by $937 million.
Some school districts fall within $100 per student of what the new formula dictates. However, several school districts are overfunded by more than $3,000 per student, and dozens are underfunded by almost $2,500 per student.
The three school districts Parker represents are underfunded by $50 million – that’s more than $2,400 per student.
The first amendment (A03221), allocates $100 Million in new school funding through the Commission's recommended Basic Education Funding formula to target the 180 underfunded school districts. To address decades of funding inequities in the billions of dollars, Parker’s amendment holds all school districts at their funding level from the 2014-15 school year and then specifically allocates the new $100 million to the 180 underfunded districts through the new formula to inch them closer to funding fairness.
To provide an alternate solution that addresses another nagging challenge, Parker's amendment (A03208) establishes two new funds and directs:
• $360 million to the Basic Education Equity Fund
• $100 million to the School District Consolidation Incentive Fund
The Basic Education Equity Fund would collect and equitably distribute received funds to bring the 180 underfunded school districts to the funding levels described in the recommendations from the Basic Education Funding Commission.
The School District Consolidation Incentive Fund would collect and equitably distribute funds to incentivize school districts to merge and consolidate in order to right-size student populations and capture significant economies of scale and cost savings.
Since taking office in January, Parker has made coalition-building efforts for the establishment of a fair funding formula for Pennsylvania's 500 school districts. Over the past 23 years in total, Parker's three school districts have been underfunded by over $600 million.
On top of these efforts, Parker is pushing to insert taxpayer protections into the final measures for school funding so that schools and taxpayers do not soon face these inequities again. Parker remains committed to fixing the way Pennsylvania funds its schools including elimination of school property taxes. In addition to how the Commonwealth collects and distributes funding for schools, Parker is focused on performance, best-learning practices and leading cost-saving measures for every school district.
Representative David Parker
115th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Charles Lardner