In June 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill 1552 and created a new formula for the distribution of Basic Education Funding (BEF) in Pennsylvania. The formula was designed to provide an equitable method for distributing state education funds. However, this formula only applies to new funds appropriated by the state. In 2017-18, the state’s formula for fairly distributing funds only applied to 7.6% of the money appropriated for Basic Education Funding. This policy brief summarizes a current working paper on the impact delayed implementation of Pennsylvania’s Fair Funding Formula has had on local districts.
According to our analysis, Black children and Students of Color are disproportionately disadvantaged by the state’s decision to delay implementation of its new formula.
Through policy simulations and analyses using multivariate regression techniques, we found that an increase in the percentage of Black students or the percentage of all Students of Color within a district is associated with a statistically significant increase in the gap between the amount a district receives in Basic Education Funding and the amount that same district would receive if the new funding formula was fully implemented.
Similarly, we found that an increase in the percentage of Black students or all Students of Color within a district is associated with a statistically significant decrease in the amount of current Basic Education Funding and overall State Funding provided to a district. These trends cannot be explained by other factors we would expect to impact state funding like district wealth or student poverty. Our results are consistent across twenty specifications.