Pickett blasts Wolf over Fair Funding Formula – Rep. claims move would cost Athens, Sayre a total of $6.3M in state aid
July 17, 2018State Rep. Tina Pickett, R-Wysox, on Monday blasted Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf over his idea to funnel all state education funding through the commonwealth’s Fair Funding Formula.Pickett said the move would bankrupt local school districts, and stated that such a decision could cost the Athens and Sayre Area School districts a total of $6.3 million in state aid.
“Could it be that Gov. Tom Wolf’s visit to the Northern Tier in September of last year has already slipped his mind?,” Pickett said in an op-ed released Monday. “Last fall, his office issued a press release, quoting him as saying: ‘It is important that smaller and rural communities know state government is listening to them and affirming their important role in our commonwealth.’ It seems he’s quickly forgotten us.”
Based on the state Basic Education subsidies for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, Wolf’s proposal would result in the Athens Area School District losing $3.8 million — or 32 percent — in state funding while the Sayre Area School District would lose $2.5 million — or 42 percent — of its state funding, Pickett stated.
“That money — which makes up a large chunk of school districts’ budgets — would either have to be made up through local property taxes or schools would have to go without,” she said. “Neither is a viable option.”
Pickett explained that the funding lost by rural school districts would instead go to larger urban school districts, stating that the increase to the School District of Philadelphia itself would total more than $330 million.
“I implore Gov. Wolf to change his mind and to keep the funding formula as it is,” Pickett added. “He needs to keep his promise to the people of rural Pennsylvania that they matter. Because they do.”
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