Records show Pennsylvania has the widest range of disparity between its wealthier school districts and the poorest when it comes to state school funding, particularly in Bucks and Montgomery counties.
The report comes on the heels of the State Legislature increasing basic school funding by $100 million in the state’s 2017-2018 budget. It may seem like a healthy hike, but it won’t be enough to lift Pennsylvania out of its 45th ranking in the number of subsidies Pennsylvania districts receive from Harrisburg.
What does that mean? More money from local taxes such as property owners and families digging deeper to maintain quality education.
Oddly, the disparity in subsidies has little to do with the median income in a municipality.
For instance, in the coming school budget year, basic education funding increases range from a low 0.5% for the affluent New Hope-Solebury district and also for less affluent Morrisville Borough.
Meanwhile, Bensalem rates a 3.5% funding increase this year, while Bristol Borough, with the lowest median household income in the county, is in line for a low 1.7% increase in school funding. Jenkintown, in Montco, will receive 6.9%.
Statistics from Temple University’s Center for Regional Politics reveal the change: Pennsylvania provided 54% of school district funding in 1971, but now it’s a mere 35%.
Note: It is the constitutional duty of the Legislature to provide and maintain efficient public education to better serve the citizens of Pennsylvania.