Pennsylvania House Education Committee Advances Bill to Overhaul School Funding

ClassroomImage via Pixabay

HARRISBURG, PA — On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania House Education Committee approved House Bill 2370, a significant piece of legislation aimed at transforming the state’s education funding system. The bill seeks to bring adequacy, equity, and stability to Pennsylvania’s public schools by amending the Public School Code of 1949.

House Bill 2370 addresses several key areas, including charter school requirements, cyber charter school funding, and the overall distribution of educational resources. It introduces new measures for advertising and sponsorships, sets parameters for enrollments, and mandates wellness checks for students. Additionally, the bill aims to improve accountability through annual reports and public disclosures.

“Today, we cleared the first major hurdle to restructure how we fund our public schools and ensure every child in the commonwealth has a quality education,” said House Education Committee Majority Chairman Peter Schweyer. “The Pennsylvania Constitution makes it crystal clear about providing a thorough and efficient public education. With this bill, every kid who works hard would have the tools they need to succeed.”

State Rep. Mike Sturla, who served as Co-Chair of the Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC), sponsored the legislation. Sturla emphasized the bill’s intent to implement recommendations from the BEFC’s Majority Report.

“I thank the House Education Committee for reporting out my legislation today that would implement certain recommendations of the BEFC’s Majority Report,” said Sturla (D-Lancaster). “This bill would set us on the right path to meet our constitutional duty of providing an adequate and equitable public education system in Pennsylvania.”

The proposed legislation includes substantial financial commitments:

2024/25 Increases:
  • $728 million for chronically underfunded schools.
  • $530 million in cyber charter savings.
  • $200 million so every school district receives an increase.
  • $136 million in property tax relief.
7-Year Totals:
  • $5.1 billion for chronically underfunded schools.
  • $3.7 billion in cyber charter savings.
  • $1.4 billion through the fair funding formula for all public schools.
  • $955 million in property tax relief.

“For too long, taxpayers have been overburdened while schools and students have ended up being short-changed,” said Rep. Mary Isaacson (D-Phila), a member of the House Education Committee and the BEFC.

Revamping Education Funding in PA: A Path to Equity and Excellence

The importance of this bill goes beyond just numbers. It aims to correct long-standing inequities in educational funding, ensuring that all students, regardless of their zip code, receive a quality education. Chronic underfunding has left many schools struggling to provide basic resources, and this legislation seeks to address these disparities.

Moreover, the bill’s emphasis on cyber charter savings reflects a growing concern over the financial impact of cyber charter schools on traditional public schools. By reallocating funds, the state hopes to reduce the financial strain on public schools while maintaining high educational standards.

The proposed property tax relief is also significant. High property taxes have long been a contentious issue in Pennsylvania, often straining household budgets. By providing nearly $1 billion in relief over seven years, the bill aims to ease this burden, making it more feasible for families to support local schools without sacrificing their financial stability.

In summary, House Bill 2370 represents a comprehensive effort to revamp Pennsylvania’s education funding system. With wide-ranging financial commitments and policy changes, the bill sets a course for a more equitable and effective public education system. As it moves to the full House for consideration, the stakes are high for students, educators, and taxpayers across the state.

For the latest news on everything happening in Chester County and the surrounding area, be sure to follow MyChesCo on Google News and Microsoft Start.