Philadelphia House Delegation lauds passage of equitable school funding

House passes bill based on Basic Education Funding Commission recommendations

HARRISBURG, June 10 – Today, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed legislation lauded by members of the House Philadelphia Delegation that would fundamentally change the way that school districts are funded in the state to meet the constitutional mandate of equitably funding schools.

House Bill 2370 is based on the recommendations of the Basic Education Funding Commission which took testimony and gathered information through public hearings across the state following a Commonwealth Court decision that ruled the state’s existing school funding formula is unconstitutional and ordered the legislature to fix it. Cephas said the bill is the first step toward providing adequacy with targeted funding and savings through reduced overspending on cyber charter schools.

The School District of Philadelphia is projected to see a total one-year increase of $361,936,607 under House Bill 2370, including almost $116 million in savings through standardized cyber charter spending.

Chairwoman of the Philadelphia House Delegation Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., said the formula change has been a long time coming.

“This legislature has been working on a fair funding formula for countless years now. I’m so proud that we have finally realized a plan to help uplift our chronically underfunded schools in the School District of Philadelphia,” Cephas said. “Our children would see an equitable investment in their future with this targeted funding. Fairly funding education is a top priority for our delegation in the state budget, while creating transparency and accountability for our cyber charters. This plan will benefit all students and taxpayers in our city.”

Rep. Mary Isaacson, D-Phila, is a member of the Basic Education Funding Commission and was involved in creating the legislation in the House Education Committee.

“We are constitutionally required to enact a thorough and efficient system of public education and in this historic moment we are finally realizing fair, equitable and adequate funding for all schools,” Isaacson said. “As a member of the Basic Education Funding Commission, I talked with students, faculty and staff across the state to help devise our recommendations which are reflected in this bill today. This is a big win for the School District of Philadelphia and underfunded rural, urban and suburban schools across Pennsylvania. Students will no longer have their educational opportunities determined by their ZIP code.”

Cephas said the investments in H.B. 2370 are targeted over a 7-year period that would create equitable funding for all 500 school districts and level educational opportunities for all students. This legislation creates the formula for which school funding will be appropriated in the education code in the state budget in the coming weeks.

House Bill 2370 now goes to the state Senate for consideration.