Indiana Gazette: “‘Fair’ Funding Formula Anything But Fair”

‘Fair’ Funding Formula Anything But Fair
Indiana Gazette
July 24, 2018

“If Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to fully implement the fair funding formula for Pennsylvania school districts were ever to go into effect, property owners in Indiana County would no doubt view it as anything but fair.

Property taxes in the county would have to go up an additional $28 million to make up the loss of funding to county school districts. It would affect homeowners, business owners with commercial properties, farmers and other landowners. With 35,000 households in our county, that breaks down to an $800 increase per household.

Who is being asked to carry this shifted burden? The people who can least afford it.

For example, the United School District would lose 62 percent of its funding, from $8.9 million to $3.3 million; Marion Center Area would see 57 percent of its state funding shrivel; and so on, according to the House Appropriations Committee.

“But what switch got flipped that made it OK for $28 million in state funding to leave our county? Who decided our schools will be OK without the money?

With these kinds of cuts, it could mean a huge, if not complete, reduction of extracurricular activities. There isn’t anywhere near enough money that can be cut in those programs to make up the deficit. And who thinks it is a good idea to not keep our kids in organized, constructive activities instead of just putting more idle time on their hands?

The other options will be more cuts in classes that are offered, teaching positions eliminated along with higher taxes. It is hard to see this proposal anywhere close to being fair.

“But how are we to prosper as a county with a tax burden for educating our future leaders and workforce being shifted onto some of the poorest in our state?

To implement the fair funding formula for all school subsidies is not a plan that makes Indiana County compete educationally on a footing that is anywhere near fair.

Read the full article HERE.