State Democrats Look to Boost Public School Funding

HARRISBURG — AP is reporting… A Democratic-sponsored proposal to boost public school funding by billions in the coming years and impose stricter rules on cyber-charter schools passed the Pennsylvania House on Monday in a test of political will as lawmakers haggle over the state budget.

The bill responds to a report issued in January that said Pennsylvania underfunds public school districts by more than $5 billion annually and recommended phasing in increases over several years.

The proposed legislation would set up a new formula to distribute state education aid but does not include an appropriation of the money to fund it.  Five Republican lawmakers voted with all Democrats to approve the measure, which passed 107-94 and was sent to the state Senate.

Majority Leader Matt Bradford, D-Montgomery, said the state’s current system of doling out support has failed, calling it unconstitutional. Phased in over seven years, the measure would eventually increase state support by about $7 billion annually.

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