Mark Dodel, BSN, MBA, RN (retired)

Blogs are the opinions of the bloggers only, and do not necessarily represent every Democrat or the Monroe County Democrats However, the MCD sponsors this blog to express and share the many ideas within our party.

Stop playing politics and fix school funding before many more people can no longer afford to live here any more.

Taking the politics out of fair funding for public education shows that areas of the state that thrive under the current system are losing students as people flee those areas. Those districts are getting 50 to 70% of their education budget funded by the state.

Areas that have experienced fast growth with new families and students are getting less than 50%, in some cases like the Pocono area districts less than 40%, down into the low 30's. Fair funding would balance that so every district gets the same funding from the state. Yes we would benefit from fair funding, but those that will receive less have been benefitting for decades. They are also the reason that Republican legislators in those areas refuse to sign on to property tax reform since they are paying so much less than we have to because the state already picks up the lion's share of their public school costs.

Our Pennsylvania State Constitution states "The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth." That is certainly not the case for all school districts today in the Commonwealth.

The quickest fix would be to increase every district up to the 70% funding that many western PA school districts get today. That would require new revenue streams. A small raise in the state income or sales tax would help there in leveling out funding across the state. And a fracking severance tax would help a lot. Pennsylvanians have been cheated out of billions of dollars from that last one over the decade plus that natural gas has been pumped out of our state. The gas industry pays that tax in every other major gas producing states.

So stop playing politics and fix this before many more people can no longer afford to live here any more.

Here is an editorial that gets into more details about how many school districts are suffering from this situation.

Editorial: Fair funding for schools mired in mud-slinging

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