It’s the first thing each Pennsylvania state lawmaker checks in a governor’s brand-new budget proposal: How much more money the public schools in their districts would get.
This year, a move to de-politicize the process that drives billions of state dollars to public schools is injecting another level of intrigue. It comes as Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf seems determined to give schools their biggest-ever one-year increase.
Many are watching whether a 15-member commission can produce an objective formula to distribute the aid and win prompt support from the Republican-controlled Legislature and Wolf. It is expected to issue a recommended formula by early June.
The challenge before the commission isn’t small.
Federal statistics show that Pennsylvania has the nation’s largest spending gap between rich and poor school districts.