PSBA is the voice for public education and the work of strong local school boards in the halls of the Capitol. We are committed to supporting an effective child-centered public education that is adequately and equitably funded. Pennsylvania public schools are the driving force behind our state’s economy. PSBA has identified the following issues as legislative priorities for the 2017- 18 session of the General Assembly and will work to bring focus to leverage change in these areas that will improve our system of public education.
PSBA will urge the General Assembly to:
Address Pennsylvania’s Pension Crisis
PSBA believes that the state must immediately enact meaningful public school employee pension reform with the dual purpose of providing long-term relief by reducing projected employer contribution rate increases and reducing projected costs to school districts and taxpayers over the next two decades, while maintaining an appropriate pension benefit for school employees.
Provide a Continued, Fair Financial Investment for School Districts
PSBA believes that the General Assembly should support a significant and continued financial investment for school districts that is distributed using the fair and predictable and equitable funding formula established under Act 35 of 2016 that provides districts with the greatest flexibility to use their resources. Pennsylvania must maintain a system of public school financing that emphasizes a sharing of costs between the commonwealth and local school districts, recognizing that the state must provide the majority of funding for public education.
Enact Meaningful Charter School Reforms
PSBA believes that the state must enact comprehensive and meaningful reforms to the Charter School Law to level the playing field between charters and traditional public schools. These reforms should address areas of charter school operations, funding and accountability. Charter schools and educational management organizations (EMOs) should be subject to the same laws and regulations that all public schools must follow, including the same financial, academic and ethical accountability standards as school districts. In addition, the special education funding formula established under Act 126 of 2014 should apply equally to charter schools just as it does to school districts. The current flawed special education tuition calculation requires school districts to pay charter schools regardless of the costs of services provided and results in the overpayment of district funds to charter schools for special education students.