Gov. Tom Wolf Tuesday announced a $200 million increase to basic education funding as part of his 2016-17 budget proposal. The investment, which represents a 3.3 percent increase, is in addition to the $377 million increase contained within the 2015-2016 bipartisan budget compromise.
The agreement was supported by bipartisan majorities in both chambers before Republican House leaders failed to hold a final vote and left town prior to Christmas. It will be distributed using the Fair Funding Formula created and unanimously adopted by the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission in June 2015.
“We have a choice in Pennsylvania, and we must choose a path that funds our schools, eliminates our deficit, and puts Pennsylvania back on track,” Gov. Wolf said. “My proposed budget will build on the goal of a bipartisan budget compromise and it provides a clear path for a promising future for our state.”
Gov. Wolf made the announcement during a Schools That Teach visit to 10th and Green Elementary School in the Reading School District.
“A fully funded basic education fund (BEF) that provides equitable funding for students from diverse backgrounds is a necessity,” Reading School District superintendent Dr. Khalid Mumin said. “Gov. Wolf’s visit to Reading School District -- where the student body is 93 percent economically disadvantaged, 18 percent of the students are English Language Learners and 16 percent of the students receive special education services -- further epitomizes the governor’s commitment to providing educational funding that levels the playing field for all children throughout the Commonwealth.”
The Basic Education Funding Formula provides sufficient, predictable, and equitable funding for school districts across the commonwealth, and includes student-based factors such as number of children who live in poverty or are enrolled in charter schools, as well as district-based factors such as the wealth of the district, the district’s current tax effort, and the ability of the district to raise revenue.
“This is the path to a greater future and will help us lay a strong foundation for long-term economic growth,” Gov. Wolf said. “There is another path that will lead to higher property taxes, reduced services for seniors and another $1 billion in education cuts – doubling down on the deep cuts of the past. It is time to finish the job, fund our schools, and give Pennsylvania the bright future it deserves.”
Governor’s AddressGov. Wolf will deliver his 2016-17 budget address on February 9 at 11:30 a.m. A livestream of the budget address will be available online.