Education Reform Passes the House

// // in Government

The last several days on the Hill in Harrisburg have seen the passage of two pieces of education reform policy in the House that will create transparency among public school entities and establish a commission to review basic education funding.

 

The bill to amend the Public School Code of 1949 (HB 1738, 187-9) passed today, January 15, 2014, in the House. The amendment adds a section to establish the Basic Education Funding Commission which will include 15 members charged with reviewing and making recommendations for basic education funding.

 

Their responsibilities will include, but are not limited to, developing a basic education funding formula to be approved by the General Assembly and identifying factors that will aid in the distribution of funds. Factors could include, for example, high enrollment growth in a district, high levels of local support, or geographic price differences for districts. In addition, the Commission will be asked to seek cost savings and make recommendations for implementation.

 

Rep. Mario Scavello, a co-sponsor of the bill, explains, “The current funding formula just doesn’t work for so many schools across the state. Any new funding formula would be developed in coordination with leaders from schools districts across the state, making sure it is reflective of Pennsylvania’s student population.”

Read the full press release here

 

Only two days prior, The Public School Web Accountability and Transparency (SchoolWATCH) Act passed the House as well. SchoolWATCH states that a searchable website will be created by the Department of Education in which the public will have access to receipts and expenditures of public schools.

 

Each public school will be required to electronically file its most recent final adopted budget with the department. Within four years of the Act, the department and advisory committee will develop, and furthermore, report the expenditure and performance measure for each public school entity to be updated annually on the Internet database.

 

Rep. Ryan Aument says of the passage, “This level of increased transparency will support better decision making and empower citizens to understand school district spending and performance.”

Read the full press release here

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