I am for a fair and equitable funding school formula, as is every member of the state Legislature, the local school boards and the 12 million citizens of this commonwealth. However, this statement has very different meanings to the various groups advocating this position.
To a school board member from York County this statement may mean that the state funds sent to a district would be identical for each student served across the commonwealth. This would result in a substantial increase in state funding coming directly to those districts while there would be a drop in state funding to rural and urban school districts unless a huge amount of cash was added to the state’s education budget, a very unlikely event.
To the rural or urban districts with a falling population, a failing tax base and a large number of economically disadvantaged students, a fair and equitable funding school formula will include the total of both local and state funds and they would be equalized so that all students would be provided the same prospects. The educational opportunities for all students would then be fair and equitable.
The commonwealth of Pennsylvania exists for the common good of all of her citizens and not just the wealthy. The state must continue to aid the poorer districts at the expense of the wealthy.
If the commonwealth adopts a formula that ignores the economic conditions of the students and a region, which simply awards state funding based on student population, then the gap between York County, inner city Philadelphia and Indiana will be unbridgeable.
A state funding formula of equal dollars per student will destroy the urban and rural school districts, including all of those in Indiana County.
Thomas R. Harley
president, Indiana Area school board