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Pennsylvania Public School Funding

A new bill passed through the State House Yesterday that would provide billions of dollars to public schools across the Commonwealth

Zac Kaye talked with a State Representative and a local school official about why this bill needs to become a reality

The local lawmaker I spoke with says that this legislation would increase state support to public schools by about seven billion dollars annually.

“There’s no better investment we can make in our future than in public education and this is a responsible, practical, sustainable first step toward doing that.”

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania made a landmark ruling last year, saying the system of funding public education is unconstitutional.

Takac says a series of statewide hearings were held to try and fix this, and that is where house bill 23-70, that passed on Monday, came from.

“So they looked at schools that were successful statewide and looked at what they spent per student, so they set that as an average baseline, they said look ‘this is not optimal, this is not ideal, but this is adequate.’”

Takac says the bill will lead to millions coming to different school districts, such as Bald Eagle in Centre County. He says the bill will provide one billion dollars in property tax relief to different school districts, and save them millions by reducing the overspending on cyber-charter schools.

“So this keeps those local dollars local, rather than going to these cyber schools, which quite frankly are under-performing, they’re among the worst performing schools in the entire Commonwealth and they’re largely unaccountable.”

Amy Arcurio is the Superintendent of the Greater Johnstown Area School District and says this bill could change the trajectory for students all across the state, and allow them to give their students in Cambria County the education they deserve.

“Schools should not be different for students depending on their zip code, every single student in the Commonwealth should have access to the same opportunities to reach their fullest potential”

Takac says that Pennsylvania currently ranks toward the bottom in terms of State investment in public education, and he hopes the senate looks at this bill and passes it through soon to help fix that and give every child a fair opportunity, regardless of their zip code



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