Public schools are funded by three sources: the federal government, the state government, and local property taxes. In Pennsylvania, the state government funds less than 40% of the budget for our public schools, falling below the national average. This means that schools are largely funded with property taxes which leads to inequality due to the vast differences in affluence.
A further issue has been the boom of charter schools - publicly funded, privately run schools operating without public oversight. Charter schools directly compete with public schools for funding.
Some common sense reforms include ensuring oversight of charter schools, ensuring that state contributions to public schools better reflect district enrollment numbers of public districts, and district funding should not be dependent on the ability of local school districts to raise revenue via property taxes. The education of our community’s children is a fundamental component to ensuring our democracy continues to flourish.