Report Finds Students Of Color Shortchanged By PA School Funding

Aug 25, 2016


In this file image, students change classes at Julia de Burgos Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pa.
Credit Emma Lee / WHYY

With its new student-weighted school funding formula, Pennsylvania took a big step forward this year to begin to correct decades of inequities.

But much of the disparity that has grown over time is set to be locked in place for many years to come.

A new study by the faith-based advocacy group POWER looks at this dynamic, and finds that school districts serving more students of color will be most negatively affected.

POWER says this amounts to "systemic racial bias."

The new formula itself has been widely lauded, as it injects common sense into what had become a haphazard and unscientific system for distributing state aid.

If the new formula was used to divide the entire basic education subsidy — which is by far the largest pot of state school funding — the most money per pupil would go to the schools facing the greatest challenges.

This would be a major boon for districts with more students of color.

But that's not the plan.

Find more of this report on the site of our partner, Keystone Crossroads