HARRISBURG – Senate Republican leaders issued the following statements following the final meeting of the 2023-2024 Basic Education Funding Commission:
Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-39)
“We have been presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to modernize our Commonwealth’s education system and provide our children with a prosperous future. It’s unfortunate the Democrats on the commission were unable to come up with a new approach. Instead, they want to spend billions on the same plan with no results. As I have previously stated, throwing more money into a failing system is not a solution. We can and must do better for the education of our children and to ensure we have a skilled workforce to fill the jobs of the future.”
Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-41)
“I thank members of the BEFC for their work to advise the General Assembly in how best to provide for the maintenance and support of Pennsylvania’s education opportunities. We will review the various reports presented by the commission and explore changes to appropriately serve the needs of all students across the commonwealth. Every single child in Pennsylvania deserves access to a quality education. The reality is the General Assembly has consistently invested more money in educating fewer students statewide. Accountability, reforms and implementing ways to further empower parents in the education of their children also must be key components of Pennsylvania’s education system moving forward.”
Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Scott Martin (R-13)
“The mission of the Basic Education Funding Commission was to carefully review the state’s education funding formula and suggest improvements, and I am thankful that they were able to reach consensus on several key issues that will support schools that are struggling. However, it is disappointing that some members of the commission were focused on using it as a political statement rather than a serious policy discussion. The fact remains that we cannot have a conversation about how much more money some parties want to spend outside of the normal budget negotiation process. Setting arbitrary benchmarks without any regard to the taxpayers’ ability to pay is disrespectful to hardworking citizens of this Commonwealth. Furthermore, our focus should remain on how we make the system stronger and more accountable to improve educational outcomes for students– not just commit more dollars to the system.”
The Basic Education Funding Commission was formed by the General Assembly in 2023 to review the distribution of state funding for basic education to Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts and provide a report of its findings to the legislature. You can access Report #1 here. More information on the Basic Education Funding Commission can be found here.