EQUITY FIRST RELEASES 2017 LIST OF CRUSHED SCHOOL DISTRICTS

EQUITY FIRST RELEASES 2017 LIST OF CRUSHED SCHOOL DISTRICTS

The Brutal Truth of Basic Education and Special Education Funding

13 Districts Get Less Than 50% Recommended Level of BASIC Education Funding

34 Districts Get Less Than 50% Recommended Level of SPECIAL Education Funding

While 99 Districts Receive TWICE, 2X, Recommended Level of Basic Education Funding

Incredibly, 15 Districts Get 300% MORE than their Recommended Basic Ed Funding

No End of Sight as Already Over-Funded Districts Keep Getting MORE

(Harrisburg, PA) –  On the eve of the deliberately-worst school funding budget of the century, Equity First has released its 2017 List of Crushed School Districts.

For FY 2017-2018, Governor Wolf has proposed spending $5.995 Billion, an incredibly tiny little increase of $100 Million or 1.7% over last year.[1]  We remember Tom Corbett getting run out of Harrisburg for proposing 3 times More in State Basic Education funding. Ha, but it’s all eerily quiet on the educational establishment front.  Incredibly, despite 99 school districts already getting twice their recommended funding level in Basic Education, the Governor and House distributions of the $100 Million give even more money to the 99 districts already receiving TWICE their recommended funding level in Basic Education.  As they must be saying, “Twice More is Not Enough!”

Link to the 2017 List of Crushed School Districts:  http://supportequityfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/2017-Underfunded-Schools.pdf

Or visit http://supportequityfirst.org/learn-more/ and click on: Is My District Under-Funded?

In Pennsylvania, almost one million students are negatively impacted.[2]

The Tragedy in Special Education. Not to be outdone by the rottenness of Basic Education, it’s deliberately worse with the Crushed List for Special Education Funding, which reveals 34 districts receiving 50% less than the formula’s recommended levels of special education funding.[3] Horribly, these 34 districts need $70,344,508 just to bring them to 50% of their recommended funding level. That’s just plain awful. It’s time to do a supplemental budget allocation in this year’s state budget and bring these 34 districts to at least 50% of their recommended funding levels.

Crushed List for Basic Education: Presently, thirteen (13) school districts receive less than 50% of their recommended level of basic education funding. $13.97 million dollars is needed to bring these districts to 50% of their recommended level of basic education funding.[4] Instead of gifting more money to over-funded districts, a supplemental budget allocation should be made in this budget year to deliberately bring them over 50% under-funded.

The Crushed List for Basic Ed continued: Likewise, 93 school districts receive less than 75% of their recommended level of BEFF. It would cost $371,721,741 to bring these districts to 75% of their recommended level of BEFF. 120 districts receive less than 90% of their recommended level of BEFF. It would cost $720,474,938 to bring these 120 districts to 90% of their recommended level of BEFF.[5] To achieve full funding for districts receiving less than their recommended allocations would be $1,093,343,390.

In Pennsylvania, the districts with the most minority students receive much less than their recommended levels of Basic Education Funding.[6] The minority basis for Special education funding is far worse; with the poorest minority districts severely under-funded.[7]

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The Opposite of Crushed:

In the face of districts receiving 50% less than their recommended levels of funding, unbelievably, 3 School Districts receive more than 500% of their recommended level of basic education funding.  South Side SD, 98% white, receives 573.67%, almost $8.5 Million MORE, every year, then their recommended level of BEFF.[8]

Fifteen (15) school districts receive more than 300% of their recommended level of BEFF, 3 times recommended level. Ninety-nine (99) districts receive more than 200% of their recommended BEFF, TWICE, the annual amount determined by the BEFF. Predominantly, these 99 districts have the largest concentrations of white, non-minority students.[9]

Several studies recognize Pennsylvania’s distribution of basic education funding as the most racially discriminatory funding scheme in the United States. [10] In Pennsylvania, the distribution of special education funding is shamefully worse and needs immediate attention.[11]

Remarkably, Pennsylvania’s education establishment chooses to ignore the past and immediate funding discrimination. While the Governor only proposed $100 Million in new Basic Education Funding in his FY 2017-2018 Budget, all of which would be distributed to under and over funding district, the Campaign for Fair Funding remained silent and restated their solution as,

“State lawmakers must make greater, sustainable investments in students through the new fair funding formula and find the revenues to support them. To fund our schools fairly and adequately, the Campaign for Fair Education Funding urges the state to increase its investment through the fair funding formula by about $3 billion over the next several years. This should include a significant increase in state funding for schools in the 2017-18 budget year.”[12]

Like other organizations in the Pennsylvania education establishment, with the Campaign for Fair Funding, there is zero mention of fixing funding discrimination in basic or special education. Instead, largely because most the voting members of statewide educational organizations are from school districts receiving more than their fair share of the basic and special education funding, these groups are solely asking for $3 Billion more to fix things up.[13]

For a reality check: it took 179 years for Basic Education funding to reach $5.9 Billion.[14]

Immediate Supplemental Budget Allocation:
In the current fiscal year, FY2016-2017, a special budget supplemental allocation should be adopted by the General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor that provides $13.97 Million to the thirteen (13) school districts receiving less than 50% of recommended level of Basic Education funding and $70.35 Million to the thirty-four (34) school district receiving less than 50% of their recommended level of Special Education funding.

Next State Budgets:

In the FY 2017-2018 state budget for Basic Education, the 93 school districts receiving less than 75% of their recommended level of Basic Education funding should immediately receive $371,721,741 to bring them to the 75% level, and likewise for special education funding.

In the FY 2018-2019 state budget for Basic Education, 120 Districts should receive 90% of their recommended level of Basic Education funding, and likewise for special education funding. In FY 2019-2020, all districts should receive 100% of their recommended level of Basic and Special Education Funding.

In conclusion, Pennsylvania’s distribution of basic and special education funding is horribly inequitable and has evolved into racial discrimination. It’s time to immediately fix it.

www.SupportEquityFirst.org

[1] Higher Education Gets Little in Gov Tom Wolf’s Pennsylvania Budget; http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2017/02/07/Higher-education-gets-little-in-Gov-Tom-Wolf-s-Pennsylvania-budget-100-million-more-proposed-for-K-12/stories/201702070159

[2] Governor’s proposed State Budget: http://bit.ly/2r8divL

[3] Governor’s proposed State Budget: http://bit.ly/2r8divL

[4] Basic Education Funding:  http://www.education.pa.gov/teachers%20-%20administrators/school%20finances/education%20budget/pages/default.aspx#tab-1

[5] www.SupportEquityFirst.org

[6] Systemic Racial Bias in Latest Pennsylvania School Funding, David Mosenkis, POWER, July 2016   http://powerinterfaith.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/PA-Racial-School-Funding-Bias-July-2016-1-1.pdf

[7] Governor’s proposed State Budget: http://bit.ly/2r8divL

[8] Systemic Racial Bias in Latest Pennsylvania School Funding, David Mosenkis, POWER, July 2016

[9] Systemic Racial Bias in Latest Pennsylvania School Funding, David Mosenkis, POWER, July 2016

[10] Systemic Racial Bias in Latest Pennsylvania School Funding, David Mosenkis, POWER, July 2016,   http://powerinterfaith.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/PA-Racial-School-Funding-Bias-July-2016-1-1.pdf

[11] The Special Education Funding Commission Report: http://bit.ly/2rNRibx

[12] Campaign for Fair Funding Fact Sheet: http://fairfundingpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/CFEF_fact-sht-17-UPDATED.pdf

[13] Campaign for Fair Funding Fact Sheet: http://fairfundingpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/CFEF_fact-sht-17-UPDATED.pdf

[14] Governor’s proposed State Budget: http://bit.ly/2r8divL


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