Funding Public Education

The Education Law Center released a report on June 5, 2008, making clear that public education is a worthy investment for state government, with immense social and economic benefits.

According to the report, individuals who have access to quality education throughout primary and secondary school are more likely to graduate, find gainful employment, have stable families, and be active and productive citizens. They are also less likely to commit serious crimes, less likely to place high demands on the public health care system, and less likely to enroll in welfare assistance programs. Investing in public education is thus far more cost-effective for the state than paying for the social and economic consequences of under-funded, low quality schools.

In July 2008, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a state budget that increased basic education funding by $275 million — the largest dollar increase in at least two decades. The distribution formula is based largely on the findings of the 2007 Costing-Out Study, which indicated that Pennsylvania was under-funding public education by more than $4 billion in order for students to meet the state’s academic standards.

The distribution formula approved by the legislature is based on the concept of assuring adequate resources for all students to meet the academic standards mandated for them by the state. The formula was included in a bill adopted along with the budget that set state funding targets for each school district and a goal of achieving those targets in the next six years.

The international financial crisis has placed additional state funding for education in jeopardy. Along with other members of the Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign, the Philadelphia Education Fund has been encouraging state legislators to uphold their commitment to properly funding public education in the Commonwealth.

As members of the School Funding Campaign Steering Committee, we encourage you to visit the campaign website and sign on as a supporter of the campaign, either individually or as a representative of your organization.

 > Learn about Public Education Funding in Pennsylvania