There’s a good-faith disagreement within the Democratic Party around charter schools and labor market reforms, but I think every Democrat should be able to get 100% behind this list of demands on the funding issues. The current allocation of state funding is morally repugnant. There was no reason for Tom Corbett to reverse Ed Rendell’s more equitable distribution other than pure cruelty.
From the Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign:
For the 2013-2014 State Budget, the Governor and State Legislature should:
1. Begin a three-year budget process to restore the nearly $900 million of 2011-2012 cuts to state funding of K-12 education for academic programs and services to students.
2. Distribute funds to districts with a formula that accounts for the number of students, includes “weights” for the additional costs for educating students with special needs (including students in poverty, gifted students, and English language learners), and provides sustainable and predictable funding for districts.
3. Increase state funding for basic education for academic programs and services to students in 2013-2014 by $270 million (first installment of three-year plan).
4. Provide, at a minimum, a cost-of-living increase for special education and career-technical education funding to districts, and support the Governor’s proposed increase in the special education contingency fund with additional new funds.
5. Limit the charges to school districts for students in cyber charter schools to reflect the actual cost of providing instruction, and fix tuition rates for special education students in charter schools to reflect actual district expenditures.
6. Eliminate the charter school double dip in the treatment of pension costs in the current calculation of students’ tuition rates and recognize in the tuition formula as legitimate deductions certain costs of districts that are not incurred by charter schools.
7. Develop a comprehensive plan to guarantee that the students in financially distressed districts have the resources necessary to meet the state’s academic standards.