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October 2010 Vol. 18. No. 2 Focus on School Funding

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Districts get different shares of their budgets from the state

By by Rajiv Venkataramanan and Dale Mezzacappa on Sep 24, 2010 04:46 PM

Click on the image for a larger version of the graph.

Districts vary widely in wealth and taxing capacity. This affects how much funding they get from different sources. By design, those with less local revenue and greater needs get more money from the state. Federal money also flows to poorer districts. But this money doesn’t make up for huge disparities in the ability to raise revenue from local sources.

Richer districts fund most of their school costs through property taxes. Lower Merion gets just 10 percent of its funds from the state and hardly anything from the federal government, but it has so much property wealth that it is able to raise enough money locally to spend twice as much as Philadelphia per year.

Districts in older suburbs like William Penn in Delaware County, which covers Aldan, Colwyn, Darby, East Lansdowne, Lansdowne, and Yeadon Boroughs, have shrinking business and industrial centers, decreasing property values, and a high proportion of low-income families. William Penn gets 44 percent of its funding from the state and provides 50 percent from local sources. Still, it is able to spend only about half as much per pupil as Lower Merion.

Philadelphia, the state’s largest district by far, is literally in a class by itself as far as Harrisburg is concerned when calculating how much state aid it should receive. While beset by poverty, Philadelphia also has assets that smaller districts don’t. But it also must pay for its own court system, social services and other amenities through local taxes. How much money Philadelphia should contribute to its own education system has been a continuing point of contention in Harrisburg. In 2008-09, it got 56 percent of its education expenditures from the state and covered one third of its costs locally.

 

Comments (1)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 20, 2015 7:55 pm

Problem is before you can sell a building, you have to find a buyer. After you have found a potential buyer, then they have to go to the neighborhood groups to tout their proposal and then go to Zoning. It is moot if you cannot find a buyer willing to invest and the building will be left to deteroriate in the elements and it will be moot if a hostile neighborhood group kills the proposed project. No one will come to the neighborhood to invest if they will get hostile reactions. There will be plenty of time for people to weigh in the sale of the school once a buyer is found willing to buy the property. Keep in mind, the very last thing you want to do is to give neighbors too much opwer to unwittingly kill a buyer's interest to go through with the purchase that would benefit the community. Communicate, yes, but communicate intelligently between the buyer, neighbors and the SRC. Once done, then you will have a former school building under new ownership which will enhance the neighborhood as opposed to an abandoned building. Cipto Junaedy | Cipto Junaedy

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