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Where does the money go?

lcastrejon's picture

When reading the two articles, “How to Destroy a Public-School System” by Daniel Denvir and “Racial Bias in Pennsylvania’s Funding Public Schools” by David Mosenkins I thought it was interesting how the first focused on funding between public and private school systems meanwhile the second article focuses on how the funding is distributed within the public school systems. However what really struck me was how at the moment “Pennsylvania is currently one of only three states in the U.S. that does not use a formula to determine how to distribute funding to its school districts…[Instead] the state appropriately provides more funding per student to poorer districts than richer ones, reflecting the higher cost of educating poorer students, and the lower capacity to generate local school funding in poorer districts” (Mosenkins). Although, like Mosenkins has mentioned, the state does provide more funding to poorer students it is hard to see that as the case when Mosenkins proceeds to illustrate data into his article portraying the reality of how much each district is actually receiving. I couldn’t help but wonder how come poorer districts were still struggling financially even though they supposedly receive more funding by the state. But after reading Denvir’s article, I noticed that he mentioned, “the basic structure of school financing in Philadelphia is rigged to benefit these privately managed companies. Public-school money follows students when they move to charter schools, but the public schools’ costs do not fall by the same amount.” Although Denvir states that the public schools’ costs do not fall by the same amount, it does not change the fact that they are still losing money as a result of students moving to charter schools. With this in mind, I believe that this plays a significant role as to why these poorer districts are struggling in funding like Mosenkins has mentioned earlier especially in cities such as, Philadelphia. I also can’t help but wonder if the one of the reasons as to why PA doesn’t have a formula to distribute funding to its school districts is because they are pushing more and more of this privately managed companies to takeover public schools located in these poorer districts as a possible solution to “fixing” this financial struggle that many of these public school districts undergo.


jccohen's picture


Note that (as I hope is clear from class on Thurs.) public schools lose MORE than that per pupil amount when students move to charter schools.  And you're certainly thinking along Denvir's lines in your questioning as to whether PA not having a fair funding formula is related to the increasing enrollment in charter schools.  The new governor has recently convened a group to reconsider the fair funding formula issue, so maybe PA will have one before too long...