Basic Education Funding Commission

Basic Education Funding Commission 2024 Report

2023-24 Basic Education Funding Commission Report – Overview by Co-Chair Mike Sturla

2023-24 Basic Education Funding Commission Report – Overview by Co-Chair Kristin Phillips-Hill

After 13 statewide public heaings, the Basic Education Funding Commission is proud to present it’s report featuring 8 key recommendations:

Reduce the Volatility in the Formula
Calculate Adequacy Targets for Each School District
Reconstitute the Next BEFC in 2029
Invest in School Facilities
Examine Charter School Funding
Invest in Our Education Workforce
Invest in Student Supports
Consider other Important Issues

What is the Basic Education Funding Commission

The official 2023 BEF Commission website can be found here.

As Chair of the Senate Education Committee, I’ve been named to the 2023 Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding (BEF) Commission. The Commission is a bipartisan group of state officials who are tasked with making recommendations about how to improve our system of funding public education.

The work of this Commission is an important part of addressing the Commonwealth Court decision in William Penn School District, et al. v. Pennsylvania Department of Education et al. In that case, Judge Jubelirer found that the General Assembly has failed to meet our constitutional duty to provide a “thorough and efficient system of public education” by both underfunding and unfairly funding public schools across Pennsylvania.

In order to fulfill our constitutional obligation, Pennsylvania public schools must have both adequate and equitable resources – like smaller class sizes, up-to-date textbooks, and safe school buildings – so that every child has a meaningful opportunity to succeed academically, socially, and civically.

History

The original BEF Commission was established in June of 2014. Its recommendations led to the enactment of the current Basic Education Funding Formula in 2015. You can download a copy of the last Commission’s full report, watch its hearings, and learn more about the 2014 Commission on their website.

The Commission was scheduled to reconvene five years later in 2020, but was postponed with a new due date of November 30, 2023 for its next report.

Current Commission Membership

The BEF Commission is made of 15 members— 4 Education Committee chairs, plus 2 additional legislators each from the four General Assembly Caucuses (House Democrats, House Republicans, Senate Republicans, and Senate Democrats), plus 3 members of the Administration.

BEFC Membership (15 members – 3 from each caucus and 3 from the administration)
           May 2023 Commission
Education Chairs *  
   House Democrat Rep. Pete Schweyer
   House Republican Rep. Jesse Topper
   Senate Republican Sen. David Argall
   Senate Democrat Sen. Lindsey Williams
At-Large (appointed by Speaker and Pro-Tempore in consultation with Caucus leaders)
   House Democrat Rep. Mike Sturla (Co-Chair)
   House Democrat Rep. Mary Isaacson
   House Republican Rep. Jason Ortitay
   House Republican Rep. Ryan Warner
   Senate Democrat Sen. Vincent Hughes
   Senate Democrat Sen. Nick Miller
   Senate Republican Sen. Kristin Philips-Hill (Co-Chair)
   Senate Republican Sen. Greg Rothman
Administration  
   PDE Secretary * Dr. Khalid Mumin
(designee Marcus Delgado)
   PDE Deputy Secretary for Elementary and
Secondary Education *
Jeffrey Fuller
(designee Angela Fitterer)
   Gov. appointee from within administration Natalie Krug
(Budget Office)
* denotes a designee may serve

Basic Education Funding Commission Hearings

The Basic Education Funding Commission held hearings and received testimony on the current system of funding public education and what improvements can be made. At the end of this process, the Commission issued a report with recommendations. The General Assembly will now have to take legislative action to put any or all of these recommendations in place for the students and families of Pennsylvania.

Watch all hearings and view reports and testimony below.

Basic Education Funding Commission – 1/11/24

The Basic Education Funding Commission met to present findings and recommendations.

Final Reports

2023-24 Basic Education Funding Commission Report – Overview by Co-Chair Mike Sturla

2023-24 Basic Education Funding Commission Report – Overview by Co-Chair Kristin Phillips-Hill

Basic Education Funding Commission – 11/9/23

The Basic Education Funding Commission met to hear testimonies that include discussion about school district shared services, statewide population forecasts and the perspectives of teachers.

Agenda & Testimony - November 9, 2023

Basic Education Funding Commission – 11/2/23

The Basic Education Funding Commission met to hear testimonies that include discussion about how school tax structures affect Pennsylvania businesses and taxpayers.

Basic Education Funding Commission – 10/12/23

The Basic Education Funding Commission met to hear testimonies that include perspectives of rural school districts and adequate school funding.

Basic Education Funding Commission – 10/5/23

The Basic Education Funding Commission met to hear testimonies that will include input from School Directors and educational needs of English Language Learners.

Agenda & Testimony - October 5, 2023

Agenda

Pennsylvania School Boards Association

AIA PA

Hazleton School District

La Casa Dominicana de Hazleton Inc.

Hazleton Integration Project

Basic Education Funding Commission – 9/28/23

The Basic Education Funding Commission met to hear testimonies including the discussion of trends in basic education funding formula factors.

Basic Education Funding Commission – 9/21/23

The Basic Education Funding Commission met to hear testimonies including the discussion of equity and perspectives of teachers, local school district, and the community.

Basic Education Funding Commission – 9/13/23

The Basic Education Funding Commission met to hear testimonies on the Commonwealth Court’s ruling that PA’s school funding system is unconstitutional and how other states are handling school funding.

Basic Education Funding Commission – 9/12/23

The Basic Education Funding Commission met to hear testimonies on a new study regarding adequate school funding, perspective of local superintendents, and school facilities’ environmental impact.

Basic Education Funding Commission – 6/7/23

The Basic Education Funding Commission held a public hearing to review a presentation provided by the PA Department of Education on the basic education funding formula.

Basic Education Funding Commission – 5/10/23

The Basic Education Funding Commission held met to introduce members, elect co-chairs, and Review of BEFC, Pursuant to Section 123 of the Public School Code.

News

Sen. Lindsey Williams Releases Statement Following BEFC Vote Today

Sen. Lindsey Williams Releases Statement Following BEFC Vote Today

Harrisburg, Pa. − January 11, 2024 − Senator Lindsey M. Williams released this statement today, following her vote on the Basic Education Funding Commission Report. A full copy of the report, Senator Williams’ remarks, and all Commission hearings and materials...

Education equity still dividing policymakers

Education equity still dividing policymakers

(The Center Square) – For more than a decade, policymakers in Harrisburg – and the circle of education influencers that they attract – have struggled to define equity for public school students. Now, with a court mandate baring down, the state must reimagine the free...

Letter: BEFC must meet the moment

Letter: BEFC must meet the moment

Pennsylvania is at a public education crossroads. Following the ruling of the Commonwealth Court earlier this year that labeled the state’s system of funding public education unconstitutional, the Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC) is holding several hearings...

Pa. lawmakers on the clock to get new school funding system in place

Pa. lawmakers on the clock to get new school funding system in place

Education advocates behind the lawsuit that declared Pennsylvania’s school funding system unconstitutional put lawmakers on notice on Wednesday that they expect a “reasonable timeline” for the full implementation of a formula that is fair and equitable. “If it’s not a...

Study: Pennsylvania public schools underfunded by $6.2 billion

Study: Pennsylvania public schools underfunded by $6.2 billion

Pennsylvania needs to increase its investment in public schools by $6.2 billion to help students meet graduation rate goals and proficiency on state exams, according to a school finance expert. Penn State assistant professor Matthew Kelly told a panel of policymakers...

Pennsylvania lawmakers push for fair school funding

Pennsylvania lawmakers push for fair school funding

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) — State courts have ruled that Pennsylvania unfairly and unconstitutionally funds its public schools. Lawmakers formed the Fair Funding Commission to come up with a fix, starting with testimony on Tuesday in Allentown. Poorer districts like...

Pa. public schools underfunded by $6.2 billion, study finds

Pa. public schools underfunded by $6.2 billion, study finds

Pennsylvania needs to increase its investment in public schools by $6.2 billion to help students meet graduation rate goals and proficiency on state exams, according to a school finance expert. Penn State assistant professor Matthew Kelly told a panel of policymakers...

Lawmakers hear from parents, school leaders on school choice policies

Lawmakers hear from parents, school leaders on school choice policies

State lawmakers heard from Philadelphia parents and school leaders during a Senate Education Committee hearing on Monday, and while the hearing largely centered around school choice programs, it also foreshadowed broader conversations around school funding that will...

Documents

November 16 in Harrisburg (Agenda) (Testimony)

November 9 in Bedford (Agenda) (Testimony)

November 2 in Enola (Agenda) (Testimony)

October 12 in Lemont Furnace (Agenda) (Testimony)

October 11 in Pittsburgh (Agenda) (Testimony)

October 5 in Hazleton (Agenda) (Testimony)

September 28 in Hanover (Agenda) (Testimony)

September 21 in Lancaster (Agenda) (Testimony)

September 14 in Philadelphia (Agenda) (Testimony)

September 13 in Harrisburg (Agenda) (Testimony)

September 12 in Allentown (Agenda) (Testimony)

Meeting Agenda – May 10, 2023

Meeting Agenda – June 7, 2023

Department of Education Presentation – June 7, 2023