The following joint statement comes from Philadelphia School Partnership Executive Director Mark Gleason and Philadelphia School Advocacy Partners Executive Director Mike Wang in response to the Pennsylvania legislature’s passage of the fiscal code:
We applaud today’s passage of the ‘fiscal code,’ which includes the school funding formula recommended by the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission and supported by dozens of school associations, nonprofits and stakeholder groups. Today’s bipartisan votes in the House and Senate underscore the broad support for a funding formula that is driven by student needs and that promotes fairness, stability and predictability in state funding for schools.
Public schools need sufficient financial resources to be effective. They also need revenue streams that are stable and predictable. The formula passed by the legislature today brings Pennsylvania into the company of more than 40 other states by ensuring that school monies flow to districts based on their share of students and the specific needs of those students. Notably, the formula benefits students in Philadelphia by over-weighting students whose needs are greater because of poverty or English language learner status. The formula also includes a weight for charter students in recognition of the transition costs that occur when students move from district to charter schools.
The formula is a big step forward for Pennsylvania. But money, and a fair system for distributing it, is not enough to ensure every student receives a great education. We now encourage the legislature and the governor to pass necessary reforms—particularly measures that ensure accountability for students in struggling schools. Resources are necessary but not sufficient. Government’s job includes ensuring that resources get deployed effectively so that every student has the opportunity to attend a good school.