Pennsylvania Creates Commission to Study New School Funding Formula

Governor Tom Corbett signed a bill that creates a commission that will look at changing how schools are funded.

One thing Governor Tom Corbett and Philadelphians can agree on: The funding system for public schools in this state is broken. What we don’t know if they’ll agree on: Whatever recommendations the new Basic Education Funding Commission makes.

Corbett signed the bill, sponsored by Republican Bucks County Rep. Bernie O’Neill, which attempts to overhaul how school districts are funded. “Our current system is very antiquated and fails to recognize the differing needs of school districts with increasing or decreasing enrollment levels,” O’Neill said in a press release.

O’Neill noted in his release that the commission will hold several hearings, which will hopefully allow Philadelphians to give their input. “Many of our public schools are underfunded, many are overfunded – it’s time we establish a more equitable way of driving out state dollars to the institutions responsible for preparing our young people for the future that awaits them,” he said. The panel will be made up of legislators from both parties, Corbett administration officials and state education officials.

Yes, Tom Corbett can’t even visit Philadelphia without inviting huge protests. He hasn’t often been friendly to Philadelphia education. But could anyone see a panel on school funding somehow deciding Philadelphia needs less money? Let’s hope not: Currently, the district says it needs $216 million in additional funds.