Have the PA General Assembly or PA Governor Shapiro Responded to William Penn School District v. PA Department of Education ?

Link to William Penn School District v. PA Department of Education, Commonwealth Court 2-7-23 Opinion by President Judge Jubelirer

Pennsylvania's  Legislative & Executive Branches React to William Penn SD v. Pennsylvania Department of Education

1. Legislative:

The Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC) first met in 2015.  The BEFC is set forth in the Public School Code of 1949, Article 1, Section 123.  The BEFC was instructed how “to determine the distribution of funds among the school districts.”  It is to be “reconstituted” every five years.
The BEFC is composed of legislators and representatives of the Executive Branch:  4 Education Committee chairs, plus 2 additional legislators each from the four General Assembly Caucuses (House Democrats, House Republicans, Senate Republicans, and Senate Democrats), plus 3 members of the Shapiro Administration.
On May 10, 2023 the reconstituted BEFC came to order.  Continuing over the next ten months, the BEFC held 13 public hearings across the Commonwealth to gather input from “experts on the operation of the current (funding) formula and hear from educators and administrators on the impact of education funding in classrooms, schools, and communities.”  BEFC Majority Report’s Executive Summary page 2.
Reporting their results on January 11, 2024, the BEFC unfortunately prepared two different Reports:                          
​ Majority Report

The Commission adopted Report #2 with 8 YES votes and 7 NO votes, making it the Majority Report.

8 Voted YES: Delgado, Fitterer, Hughes, Isaacson, Krug, Miller, Schweyer, Sturla

7 Voted NO: Argall, Ortitay, Phillips-Hill, Rothman, Topper, Warner, Williams


Minority Report

The Commission did not adopt Report #1 with 6 YES votes, 6 NO votes and 3 Abstentions, making it the Minority Report.

6 Voted YES: Argall, Ortitay, Phillips-Hill, Rothman, Topper, Warner

6 Voted NO: Hughes, Isaacson, Miller, Schweyer, Sturla, Williams

                             3 Abstained: Delgado, Fitterer, Krug

Majority Report Contents
Minority Report Contents

Executive Summary

2015 Recommended Formula


Reduce Volatility of Formula

Calculate Adequacy Targets

Next BEFC in 2029

Invest in School Facilities

Examine School Charter Funding

Invest in Education Workforce

Invest in Student Supports

Consider Other Important Issues

 Commission Info:

Act 51 & Charge to BEFC

Members of BEFC

Hearings of BEFC

 Appendix A:

  • List of Graduation Rates & Proficiency Rates by School District (SD)
  • List of Identified Adequacy Gaps by SD
  • Recommended Uses
  • Summary of Witness Testimony (pages 72-112)

Executive Summary

Act 51 & Charge to BEFC

Members of BEFC

Hearings of BEFC

Testimony Received


Factors of Fair Funding



Other Recommendations


  • Public Hearings & Testimony
  • Independent Fiscal Office Survey (pages 45 -76)
  • Names of Persons who submitted Public Comment Submitted to BEFC
  • Technical Assistance Received


Many of the witnesses quoted in the Majority Report specifically mentioned their desire to comply with the content of President Judge Jubelirer’s 2-7-23 Order.
Two major differences between the Majority and Minority Reports were 40 pages of witness testimony summaries in the Majority and the 30 pages of the Independent Fiscal Office Survey results in the Minority.
State Senator Lindsey Williams from Allegheny County was a member of the recent BEFC.  She and her staff have compiled, in my opinion, the most complete video record of the BEFC meetings/public hearings held across our state and the news media coverage that resulted on her State Senate website.
The BEFC’s recommended funding formula is not automatically put into law.  It must be adopted by the General Assembly before it is official.


2. Executive:

On February 29, 2024 Governor Shapiro presented his budget address to the House of Representatives and Senate of our General Assembly.
His address included this information as to his proposed Department of Education’s Budget Proposal within a Powerpoint presentation:

“Doubling Down on Investments in Children, Students and Educators”

Investing in Basic Education Funding

  •   $1.072 billion increase in basic education funding

   ​$872 million for first year adequacy investment per BEFC recommendation

   ​$200 million for the Basic Education Fund Formula

  • $50 million increase in special education funding

Instituting Cyber Charter Reform

Implement reforms to align cyber tuition with the actual cost of online education, saving school districts $262 million annually

 Providing Career and Technical Education Opportunities

Maintain $7 million for dual enrollment programs

$2.4 million for Career and Technical Education

Ensuring Safe and Healthy School Facilities

  • $300 million in sustainable funding for environmental repairs
  • $50 million for school safety and security
  • $3 million for feminine hygiene products

Supporting PA’s Youngest Learners

  • $30 million to Pre-K Counts to raise wages & stabilize the workforce
  • $2.7 million to the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program

 Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent in Education

  • $10 million for Educator Talent Recruitment Account
  • $5 million to increase funding for student teacher stipends
  • $5 million for educator professional development

 3. The Future?

The General Assembly has yet to approve, modify or reject Governor Shapiro’s Budget Requests for the PA Department of Education.

Thereafter Governor Shapiro will have the ability to sign or veto the General Assembly’s Budget Proposal?

Thank you,

Tom Bailey 3-24-24


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