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LETTER: On to property tax reform
I agree with The York Dispatch’s opinion piece on Friday heralding Gov.Tom Wolf’s signing into law legislation to ensure a fair distribution of funding to Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts.
As a member of the bicameral Basic Education Funding Commission who worked long and hard to develop this new formula that could muster the bipartisan support needed to garner approval in the General Assembly, I want to commend Gov. Wolf for finally realizing how much this new funding formula means to York County’s schools, which are among the 428 school districts across the state that will benefit from it.
We devised this new formula after conducting 15 hearings over the course of nearly a year, hearing from a wide range of experts and advocates in the education field, as well as parents, from urban, suburban and rural school districts throughout the state.
We specifically made sure that the new formula awards funding based on several student-based factors, including student count; poverty; English language learners; and charter school enrollment. The formula assigned weights to each category to help determine the degree to which each factor drives up the cost of educating a student.
This begins to make state distribution of school subsidies fairer to school districts in border counties — such as York and Lancaster — which have been seeing increased enrollment from people moving here from Maryland, but have not received the increased funding needed to accommodate these new students.
After working on the school funding matter since being elected 22 years ago, I now hope Gov. Wolf will join us in moving on to another issue which we have been working on for the past 20 years — substantive property tax reform.
State Rep. Stan Saylor