PSP Statement on Basic Education Funding Commmission Report

PSP Executive Director Mark Gleason issued the following statement on recommendations released by Pennsylvania’s Basic Education Funding Commission:

“The Philadelphia School Partnership commends the Basic Education Funding Commission and supports its recommendations for a weighted student funding formula, including implementation of the formula for the distribution of all new basic education funds in the 2015-16 school year.

“Co-Chairs Patrick Browne (Senate) and Mike Vereb (House) and their colleagues hosted many hearings across the state, listened to stakeholders, did a lot of homework and due diligence, and came out with a comprehensive, well-reasoned and balanced set of recommendations. Those recommendations are grounded in the realities of the Commonwealth and the crucial principles of accountability, transparency and predictability; they also draw heavily on practices and evidence from other states. This commission has created the opportunity for a major step forward-one that can be a foundation of state policy for years or even decades to come.

“PSP does not support delaying implementation of a formula. Any new spending on education that is distributed via the current system will exacerbate the inequitable impact of the Commonwealth’s ‘hold harmless’ policy. Students in Pennsylvania have waited long enough for a fair funding formula. Let’s not make them wait any more.

“Truly, there is a strong argument to be made for ending ‘hold harmless’ by applying a new formula to all state basic education funds. However, it’s hard to see a way to do that, politically or practically. With more time, perhaps a phased-in approach to ending ‘hold harmless’ can work. For now, we urge the General Assembly to carefully consider the thorough work of the Commission, pass a new funding formula into law, and ensure that it applies to all new spending on schools.”