Pa superintendents rally in Harrisburg to push for funding reform

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Superintendents from across the commonwealth pleaded their case for funding reform in Harrisburg Monday.

All 12 of Pennsylvania's urban school district superintendents gathered in Harrisburg to advocate for funding reform.

The officials gathered "To really show that we're on the same accord on some of the major issues," said Reading School District Superintendent Dr. Khalid Mumin.

"It's not even more funding, though that's necessary. It's redirecting funding that's going elsewhere now," said Bethlehem Area School District Superintendent Dr. Joseph Roy.

Specifically charter school funding, which is not subjected to the fair funding formula.

"The oversight is not the same as the oversight of the school district," Dr. Mumin said.

"Our district pays to charters 23,000 per student who's special education, charter school average cost for special education is between 8,000 and 9,000," Dr. Roy said.

"20% of my budget goes to charter schools before I educate one student in the Allentown school District, and that's a challenge," said District Superintendent Thomas Parker.

"So you have a shortfall in state funding but costs that we can't control through charter school costs and pension costs," Dr. Roy said.

The superintendents are also encouraging lawmakers to refund PlanCon, which was designed to reimburse schools for infrastructure.

"The expenses are out-pacing the increases," Parker said.

They hope the issue can be addressed with the current budgeting session.

"There's a lot of goodwill and great intentions around reforming the charter school law," Dr. Mumin said.

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