The 67 District Plan for Repairing PA’s School Tax Bases

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The state funding cuts are still the biggest problem facing local school districts but the second biggest problem many are having is that they are too small.

In the city centers and first ring suburbs, you’ve typically got some school districts without a lot of money. And then encircling those, you usually have some school districts with a whole lot of money.

Take an eraser and erase all the little school district boundary lines inside the county, and Voila! You’ve probably got a financially stable district.

That’s what Moody’s thinks is the most effective way to help distressed districts like Chester-Upland, Duquesne, and York:

Duquesne proposed sending all non-charter students to nearby districts, which would get tuition payments. But those nearby schools rejected the idea. Moody’s analysts say despite the opposition, those ideas seem like they’re more likely to improve education than the other districts’ strategy.

The main problem for this plan is the state lets local school districts make the call on whether to accept other districts’ kids or not, instead of bigfooting those decisions from the state level. We should have county-level school districts – 67, not 500.

School funding advocates who don’t like the York charter takeover plan should seriously consider making this the centerpiece of their alternative vision if they don’t want to see more takeovers.

 

 

This entry was posted in Budget, Economy, Education, Issues.

2 Responses to The 67 District Plan for Repairing PA’s School Tax Bases

  1. phillydem says:

    Jon,

    I completely agree school districts should be at the county level, or failing that, at least consolidated at the Intermediate Unit level. But, the biggest barrier, imho, to consolidation is
    bigoted thinking about race. You’ll get a million plausible reasons why one district won’t merge with a distressed urban one, but peel those away and it all comes down to race.