McClinton Reaffirms House Democrats' Commitment to Ensuring Fair Education Funding, Fixing Unconstitutional System
Reappoints Sturla and Isaacson to Basic Education Funding Commission
HARRISBURG, April 11 – Citing February’s landmark Commonwealth Court ruling that Pennsylvania’s education funding system is unconstitutional, Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, said today that the state needs to act now to fix the inequitable system that has shortchanged a generation of students, and reappointed state Reps. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and Mary Isaacson, D-Phila., to serve on the state’s Basic Education Funding Commission.
Sturla and Isaacson will join House Education Committee Chairman Pete Schweyer, D-Lehigh, on the commission.
“These three lawmakers are proven leaders on education issues and true champions for our public schools and students,” McClinton said. “Pennsylvania’s shared future depends on a well-educated workforce, and we build that future today by ensuring our students thrive academically, socially and civically. We need to tackle the commonwealth’s school funding challenge thoughtfully and swiftly.”
The Basic Education Funding Commission was first established in 2014 to address the inequities in Basic Education Funding across the commonwealth and examine the state’s Basic Education Funding formula. The commission released a report in 2015 recommending the General Assembly adopt a new formula to deliver state dollars to Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts.
By accounting for need-based factors like student enrollment and local wealth, the 2015 formula was an improvement over earlier distribution mechanisms, but is only used to distribute new education funding, which means less than 20% of the state’s education dollars flow through the formula -- shortchanging students in many growing, urban and rural districts.
While driving more funding through the formula would help Pennsylvania meet its constitutional mandate to support a “thorough and efficient system of public education,” experts estimate that the state would need to allocate an additional $4.5 billion to meet its obligation.