Fair funding for schools meeting in York

Greg Gross

Nearly 200 school districts across the state, including numerous districts in York County, haven't been receiving their fair share of state education dollars for decades.

The disparity accounts for $937 million that 180 school districts statewide are underfunded by annually while 320 school districts are overfunded by that amount, according to the advocacy group Equity First.

In York County, the hardest hit district is York City, which lost out on $46.5 million last fiscal year, according to the state Legislature's Basic Education Funding Commission's report released last year.

The state uses 25-year-old student population figures to distribute education funding.

Equity First, which aims to have the state use a fair funding formula that takes into account more up-to-date student population figures, will host a meeting in York City next week to highlight districts that are underfunded.

"We're really just trying to make people aware and get them involved," said Rebecca Kann, spokeswoman for the group.

The meeting: Equity First is holding a series of meetings across the state to drum up support for a fair funding formula to be implemented.

It held meetings in Reading, Allentown, Bethlehem and elsewhere already, Kann said.

The group's meeting in York City will take place at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Yorktowne Hotel's George Washington room, 48 E. Market St.

Equity First is reaching out to local district and school board officials in hopes they'll attend and talk about the impacts to being underfunded.

"We haven't finalized our speakers yet," Kann said.

Underfunded districts in the state and the county received some added financial help earlier this year when the General Assembly passed a veto-proof fiscal code that required $150 million in new basic education dollars be distributed using a fair funding formula.

But Kann said more has to be done to ensure that the formula is used for years to come and encompasses more state dollars.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ggrossyd.