State College Board of Trustees Supports Lawsuit for Fair Funding of Schools

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Students walk the halls of the State College High School building on Monday, January 8, 2018.

Center Daily Times, File

A lawsuit against it could change the way Pennsylvania funds its public schools is underway in Harrisburg, and the State College area school district board on Monday expressed support for its plaintiffs and funding reform. education.

Carried unanimously, the resolution “urges the Pennsylvania General Assembly to provide a fair, adequate and predictable funding system that enables all children to meet state academic standards and does not discriminate against school districts against low income”.

The lawsuit, which began in November and resumed on Jan. 7 after a vacation break, was filed by six school districts who argue the state has failed to provide fair and equitable funding to the public education system .

State College joins 15 other school districts – the first in Center County – in passing a resolution supporting the fair funding trial.

“This case highlights the imbalance between local and public funding for schools in Pennsylvania,” the board wrote.

Pennsylvania contributes 38% of education funding to public schools, ranking 45th out of 50 states for its education funding percentage. In the State College Area School District, local taxes represent 79% of the funding.

“For districts whose estimated total value is relatively small relative to the number of students, even high mileage rates and increasing taxation can generate insufficient and declining income for the district,” the board wrote. . “This funding approach creates vast disparities between rich neighborhoods and poor neighborhoods, leading to one of the country’s biggest funding gaps. ”

The lawsuit seeks to have the court declare unconstitutional the current system of financing of the schools.

Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Jake Corman of the Township of R-Benner, one of the accused, said in a November statement that the legislature has “fulfilled our constitutional mandate to provide a comprehensive and effective system of public education. “.

Also at Monday’s meeting, discussion continued regarding the 2022-2023 academic calendar. The original proposed schedule presented to the board at the December 20 meeting would start school on August 22, coinciding with the Grange Fair. Council tabled the vote at the December meeting and asked the district to create a new proposed schedule.

The board will vote on the new proposed schedule at its next meeting on February 7.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This story was originally published January 11, 2022 5:06 pm.

Keely Doll is an education reporter and service reporter for the Center Daily Times. She previously worked for Columbia Missourian and The Independent UK.

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