Reimagining Education Funding in Pennsylvania
Fixing underfunded schools and providing relief to overburdened local taxpayers requires a comprehensive solution.
For too long, the General Assembly has been asking the wrong questions:
How much can we afford to spend to educate Pennsylvania children?
How to slice the education funding pie among school districts across the state?
The real question we must be asking is:
What does it cost to educate all students for success and to empower communities to thrive?
The hard truth: Pennsylvania’s investment in its students falls $4.6 billion below where it needs to be for students to meet the academic standards to compete. House Democrats want to close this gap in a way that:
Equitably and adequately funds schools
Drastically increases the state’s role in funding education
Reduces property taxes
We need a bigger education funding pie, and we have the money to do it.
The interactive tabs below provide an overview of PA’s education funding problem from two perspectives.
1. What is fair?
PA’s bipartisan fair funding formula determines each school district’s fair share of state basic education funding. The fair funding formula only divides up the pie. It does not determine how much each school district needs. Just 14% of state funding is being distributed using the fair funding formula in 2021/22 because it only applies to new funding since it took effect in 2015/16.
2. How much is adequate?
The old “costing out” formula under Governor Rendell was an adequacy formula. Researchers developed a calculation to estimate each school district’s adequate spending level (combined local, state, and federal funding) for students to meet performance standards.
Use the map and drop-down lists below to break down school funding figures by district and learn about how Pennsylvania can invest in education to improve outcomes for students.