Basic Education Funding Report
The Basic Education Funding Commission was established pursuant to Act 51 of 2014 (House Bill 1738, prime sponsored by Representative Bernie O’Neill) in order to examine the basic education funding formula. The Commission held 15 hearings across the Commonwealth in 2014 and 2015. The Commission received testimony from over 110 individuals including superintendents, academics, school board presidents, representatives of the business community, nonprofit groups, other states, and parents. The Commission also engaged the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) to conduct a survey.
The IFO survey sought input from 125 schools in order to determine their cost for various factors. This information was used to assist in determining weights for the Commission’s recommended student factors, such as English Language Learners and children in poverty. These factors are an integral piece of an equitable funding formula.
The Commission recommends that the General Assembly adopt a new formula for distributing state funding in the basic education funding appropriation. The allocation of basic education funding needs to allow for accountability, transparency and predictability. The main objective of the new funding formula is to equitably distribute state resources according to various student and school district factors. The new formula will include factors reflecting student and community differences such as poverty, local effort and capacity, and rural and small district conditions. Furthermore, in accordance with Act 51, the Basic Education Funding Commission will continue its work by assisting in the drafting of implementation legislation.