On Tuesday, the PA House Education Committee voted on several resolutions regarding people of color. One resolution honored Cheyney University, another the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, another established a "Historically Black Colleges Week". The committee is good at recognizing worthy accomplishments. But they could have ended the systemic racism of our commonwealth’s funding of public schools.
If you compare school districts in PA of similar wealth levels, the pattern is unmistakable. Whiter school districts receive more money from the PA Basic Education budget per student than the less white districts. This year, Puchase Line School District, Indiana County, received over $10,000 per student from State Basic Education Funding. Pottstown School District, Montgomery County received less than $4000 per student. Both districts have similar wealth levels. The Purchase Line student population is 98% white. The Pottstown student population is 34% white. This is one over many examples.
The PA House Education Committee could have enacted a bill that it has had in its possession many months. This bill would have eliminated PA’s shameful and unintelligent method of distributing state education money. HR 961 calls for the full implementation of PA Act 35 of 2016, distributing state education funds through a student-weighted fair funding formula. Currently only 10% of the funds are distributed through the formula.
I urge everyone in the commonwealth to tell their state representative that now is the time for a rational student-weighted Fair Funding Formula. Demand that the House Education Committee move forward on HR 961.
John Barnett, Chester Springs, Pa.