EDUCATION 

A Fair and Effective Commonwealth School Funding Formula through Commonwealth legislation.

● Pennsylvania is 46th in the country in state-funding for schools, with school budgets relying heavily on local property taxes. When schools’ money comes from the taxpayers of a district, the wealthy districts are at an obvious advantage in terms of school funding and education quality.

● DCDC supports Governor Wolf’s education funding increase in the 2019-2020 enacted budget, but a comprehensive funding formula is required to fix education inequality between White-American-majority suburban schools and more racially diverse urban schools.

● The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center found that the spending gap between a typical high wealth and low wealth district in the Commonwealth widened from $3,058 per student in 2013 to $3,778 in 2017.

● Only $705 million out of $6.5 billion will be distributed through the state’s fair funding formula, which was designed to fund school on the basis of student needs and population. Although the amount of money being distributed through the formula has steadily grown since its adoption, so has the amount of funding allocated outside of it. Meanwhile, research has shown a disturbing and consistent statewide pattern that Pennsylvania districts with larger numbers of African American students receive fewer state education dollars.

● More state funding needs to be targeted to school districts that cannot muster the per-student tax funding that wealthy districts can, otherwise the Commonwealth risks  having an ever-increasing number of poorly educated young adults who cannot compete in higher education and the workforce, further increasing the racial wealth gap.  

Enable Student Loan Refinancing, at favorable interest rates

● The average Pennsylvanian student’s student loan debt $36,584, the second highest in the nation.

● There are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the US. According to the Institute for College Access and Success, borrowers in the Class of 2017, on average, owe $28,650. (As of 4Q 2018, Federal Reserve & New York Federal Reserve).

● Student loan debt is rising, and the further it rises, the more it hinders college graduates from impacting society to their fullest potential. Pennsylvania and the federal government must find a way to refinance current loans, and provide more favorable interest rates to college students to prevent debt from hindering future workers’ progress in their respective fields.

● PA Senate Resolution 178 addresses PHEAA’s efforts to change the way students in the Commonwealth borrow for college by allowing students to pay back their loans at lower costs, but until loan debt begins to fall, the problem is not being solved.

● The DCDC supports new legislation like PA HB 1680, which can help control education costs for those pursuing higher education in the health industry through loan forgiveness. The health industry needs physicians who can provide affordable care without debt hanging over their heads.

● Another option is to tax school endowments that are not used to offset tuition costs. Opposition from alumni associations across the Commonwealth will be heard , but in order to protect the Commonwealth’s current and future learners, we must put our students first, not our graduates.  

Controlling Higher Education Costs, through a serious discussion aimed at new legislation:

● The average annual in-state college tuition in Pennsylvania was $22,299 for the 2017-2018 academic year. This is $8,187 higher than the U.S. average so Pennsylvania as one of the most expensive jurisdictions in which to attend college.

●  The DCDC supports PA SB 111 and PA HB 244, which propose allocating state funds for adult students wishing to attend state-funded universities. The bills call for aid to students whose families make $110,000 or less per year, plus free room and board to students in families that make $48,000 or less per year.

● According to The Keystone Research Center, the legislation is estimated to cost around $1 billion per year. The state’s current budget for 2019-20 only sets aside about $310 million for grants to students.

● CollegeBoard.org reports that higher levels of education lead to better health, higher income, more tax revenue to the state, better school readiness for graduates’ children, lower incarceration rates, higher levels of volunteerism, and higher voting percentages. This data shows to be true for all races, education levels, and genders All of the benefits translate to money saved by the state after a better investment in education is made.    Zero Tolerance for Campus Sexual Abuse There are two systems to which sexual assault on college campuses can be reported, the police (Criminal Justice System, CJS) and the school per campus procedure. The CJS would bring criminal charges against the perpetrator, while the university campus procedure would produce no public criminal records, but would take whatever actions deemed necessary to bring private justice for the victim, usually independent of the court and campus police. The DCDC supports:

●  The Clery Act, which requires universities and colleges that receive federal financial aid to disclose information about crime on and around the campus, including incidents of sexual assault. All federal or state-funded universities must also be willing to hold student organizations accountable for the conduct of their members in cases where knowledge of events may be known by more people than the perpetrator and/or victim alone, and legislation should be passed requiring universities to establish accountability rules in their student conduct codes.

● PA SB 399, which provides extra resources to sexual assault victims and establishes the conduct for the handling of cases.

● The “It’s On Us, PA” bill package supported by Governor Wolf, which began competitive funding for universities to address campus sexual assault with students.

● The DCDC opposes cross examination of sexual assault victims after they bring their case to CJS authorities, as brought forward by the Education Department in its work to strengthen due process rights for those accused of sexual assault.   Universal Pre-K for all students Children reach a critical point in their brain development prior to age five. Making preschool accessible to all students would prove to save taxpayer dollars while improving the education of all young Pennsylvanians. The DCDC supports universal preschool in PA for the following reasons:

● High quality preschool is not usually affordable to low-income families, and could be more expensive than housing. Even middle-class families can see high-quality preschool education costing over one-sixth of the household budget.

● High quality preschool can yield between a $4-$12 return to society for each $1 invested.

● State-funded preschool affords low-income families the opportunity to work or pursue further education during the day.

● Studies show that participation in high-quality early care can help children avoid special education, grade repetition, early parenthood, and incarceration – all outcomes that imply large costs for government and for society. A Fair and Effective Commonwealth School Funding Formula through Commonwealth legislation.

● Pennsylvania is 46th in the country in state-funding for schools, with school budgets relying heavily on local property taxes. When schools’ money comes from the taxpayers of a district, the wealthy districts are at an obvious advantage in terms of school funding and education quality.

● DCDC supports Governor Wolf’s education funding increase in the 2019-2020 enacted budget, but a comprehensive funding formula is required to fix education inequality between White-American-majority suburban schools and more racially diverse urban schools.

● The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center found that the spending gap between a typical high wealth and low wealth district in the Commonwealth widened from $3,058 per student in 2013 to $3,778 in 2017.

● Only $705 million out of $6.5 billion will be distributed through the state’s fair funding formula, which was designed to fund school on the basis of student needs and population. Although the amount of money being distributed through the formula has steadily grown since its adoption, so has the amount of funding allocated outside of it. Meanwhile, research has shown a disturbing and consistent statewide pattern that Pennsylvania districts with larger numbers of African American students receive fewer state education dollars.

● More state funding needs to be targeted to school districts that cannot muster the per-student tax funding that wealthy districts can, otherwise the Commonwealth risks  having an ever-increasing number of poorly educated young adults who cannot compete in higher education and the workforce, further increasing the racial wealth gap.   Enable Student Loan Refinancing, at favorable interest rates

● The average Pennsylvanian student’s student loan debt $36,584, the second highest in the nation.

● There are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the US. According to the Institute for College Access and Success, borrowers in the Class of 2017, on average, owe $28,650. (As of 4Q 2018, Federal Reserve & New York Federal Reserve).

● Student loan debt is rising, and the further it rises, the more it hinders college graduates from impacting society to their fullest potential. Pennsylvania and the federal government must find a way to refinance current loans, and provide more favorable interest rates to college students to prevent debt from hindering future workers’ progress in their respective fields.

● PA Senate Resolution 178 addresses PHEAA’s efforts to change the way students in the Commonwealth borrow for college by allowing students to pay back their loans at lower costs, but until loan debt begins to fall, the problem is not being solved.

● The DCDC supports new legislation like PA HB 1680, which can help control education costs for those pursuing higher education in the health industry through loan forgiveness. The health industry needs physicians who can provide affordable care without debt hanging over their heads.

● Another option is to tax school endowments that are not used to offset tuition costs. Opposition from alumni associations across the Commonwealth will be heard , but in order to protect the Commonwealth’s current and future learners, we must put our students first, not our graduates.   Controlling Higher Education Costs, through a serious discussion aimed at new legislation:

● The average annual in-state college tuition in Pennsylvania was $22,299 for the 2017-2018 academic year. This is $8,187 higher than the U.S. average so Pennsylvania as one of the most expensive jurisdictions in which to attend college.

●  The DCDC supports PA SB 111 and PA HB 244, which propose allocating state funds for adult students wishing to attend state-funded universities. The bills call for aid to students whose families make $110,000 or less per year, plus free room and board to students in families that make $48,000 or less per year.

● According to The Keystone Research Center, the legislation is estimated to cost around $1 billion per year. The state’s current budget for 2019-20 only sets aside about $310 million for grants to students.

● CollegeBoard.org reports that higher levels of education lead to better health, higher income, more tax revenue to the state, better school readiness for graduates’ children, lower incarceration rates, higher levels of volunteerism, and higher voting percentages. This data shows to be true for all races, education levels, and genders All of the benefits translate to money saved by the state after a better investment in education is made.    Zero Tolerance for Campus Sexual Abuse There are two systems to which sexual assault on college campuses can be reported, the police (Criminal Justice System, CJS) and the school per campus procedure. The CJS would bring criminal charges against the perpetrator, while the university campus procedure would produce no public criminal records, but would take whatever actions deemed necessary to bring private justice for the victim, usually independent of the court and campus police. The DCDC supports:

●  The Clery Act, which requires universities and colleges that receive federal financial aid to disclose information about crime on and around the campus, including incidents of sexual assault. All federal or state-funded universities must also be willing to hold student organizations accountable for the conduct of their members in cases where knowledge of events may be known by more people than the perpetrator and/or victim alone, and legislation should be passed requiring universities to establish accountability rules in their student conduct codes.

● PA SB 399, which provides extra resources to sexual assault victims and establishes the conduct for the handling of cases.

● The “It’s On Us, PA” bill package supported by Governor Wolf, which began competitive funding for universities to address campus sexual assault with students.

● The DCDC opposes cross examination of sexual assault victims after they bring their case to CJS authorities, as brought forward by the Education Department in its work to strengthen due process rights for those accused of sexual assault.   Universal Pre-K for all students Children reach a critical point in their brain development prior to age five. Making preschool accessible to all students would prove to save taxpayer dollars while improving the education of all young Pennsylvanians. The DCDC supports universal preschool in PA for the following reasons:

● High quality preschool is not usually affordable to low-income families, and could be more expensive than housing. Even middle-class families can see high-quality preschool education costing over one-sixth of the household budget.

● High quality preschool can yield between a $4-$12 return to society for each $1 invested.

● State-funded preschool affords low-income families the opportunity to work or pursue further education during the day.

● Studies show that participation in high-quality early care can help children avoid special education, grade repetition, early parenthood, and incarceration – all outcomes that imply large costs for government and for society. A Fair and Effective Commonwealth School Funding Formula through Commonwealth legislation.

● Pennsylvania is 46th in the country in state-funding for schools, with school budgets relying heavily on local property taxes. When schools’ money comes from the taxpayers of a district, the wealthy districts are at an obvious advantage in terms of school funding and education quality.

● DCDC supports Governor Wolf’s education funding increase in the 2019-2020 enacted budget, but a comprehensive funding formula is required to fix education inequality between White-American-majority suburban schools and more racially diverse urban schools.

● The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center found that the spending gap between a typical high wealth and low wealth district in the Commonwealth widened from $3,058 per student in 2013 to $3,778 in 2017.

● Only $705 million out of $6.5 billion will be distributed through the state’s fair funding formula, which was designed to fund school on the basis of student needs and population. Although the amount of money being distributed through the formula has steadily grown since its adoption, so has the amount of funding allocated outside of it. Meanwhile, research has shown a disturbing and consistent statewide pattern that Pennsylvania districts with larger numbers of African American students receive fewer state education dollars.

● More state funding needs to be targeted to school districts that cannot muster the per-student tax funding that wealthy districts can, otherwise the Commonwealth risks  having an ever-increasing number of poorly educated young adults who cannot compete in higher education and the workforce, further increasing the racial wealth gap.   Enable Student Loan Refinancing, at favorable interest rates

● The average Pennsylvanian student’s student loan debt $36,584, the second highest in the nation.

● There are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the US. According to the Institute for College Access and Success, borrowers in the Class of 2017, on average, owe $28,650. (As of 4Q 2018, Federal Reserve & New York Federal Reserve).

● Student loan debt is rising, and the further it rises, the more it hinders college graduates from impacting society to their fullest potential. Pennsylvania and the federal government must find a way to refinance current loans, and provide more favorable interest rates to college students to prevent debt from hindering future workers’ progress in their respective fields.

● PA Senate Resolution 178 addresses PHEAA’s efforts to change the way students in the Commonwealth borrow for college by allowing students to pay back their loans at lower costs, but until loan debt begins to fall, the problem is not being solved.

● The DCDC supports new legislation like PA HB 1680, which can help control education costs for those pursuing higher education in the health industry through loan forgiveness. The health industry needs physicians who can provide affordable care without debt hanging over their heads.

● Another option is to tax school endowments that are not used to offset tuition costs. Opposition from alumni associations across the Commonwealth will be heard , but in order to protect the Commonwealth’s current and future learners, we must put our students first, not our graduates.   Controlling Higher Education Costs, through a serious discussion aimed at new legislation:

● The average annual in-state college tuition in Pennsylvania was $22,299 for the 2017-2018 academic year. This is $8,187 higher than the U.S. average so Pennsylvania as one of the most expensive jurisdictions in which to attend college.

●  The DCDC supports PA SB 111 and PA HB 244, which propose allocating state funds for adult students wishing to attend state-funded universities. The bills call for aid to students whose families make $110,000 or less per year, plus free room and board to students in families that make $48,000 or less per year.

● According to The Keystone Research Center, the legislation is estimated to cost around $1 billion per year. The state’s current budget for 2019-20 only sets aside about $310 million for grants to students.

● CollegeBoard.org reports that higher levels of education lead to better health, higher income, more tax revenue to the state, better school readiness for graduates’ children, lower incarceration rates, higher levels of volunteerism, and higher voting percentages. This data shows to be true for all races, education levels, and genders All of the benefits translate to money saved by the state after a better investment in education is made.    Zero Tolerance for Campus Sexual Abuse There are two systems to which sexual assault on college campuses can be reported, the police (Criminal Justice System, CJS) and the school per campus procedure. The CJS would bring criminal charges against the perpetrator, while the university campus procedure would produce no public criminal records, but would take whatever actions deemed necessary to bring private justice for the victim, usually independent of the court and campus police. The DCDC supports:

●  The Clery Act, which requires universities and colleges that receive federal financial aid to disclose information about crime on and around the campus, including incidents of sexual assault. All federal or state-funded universities must also be willing to hold student organizations accountable for the conduct of their members in cases where knowledge of events may be known by more people than the perpetrator and/or victim alone, and legislation should be passed requiring universities to establish accountability rules in their student conduct codes.

● PA SB 399, which provides extra resources to sexual assault victims and establishes the conduct for the handling of cases.

● The “It’s On Us, PA” bill package supported by Governor Wolf, which began competitive funding for universities to address campus sexual assault with students.

● The DCDC opposes cross examination of sexual assault victims after they bring their case to CJS authorities, as brought forward by the Education Department in its work to strengthen due process rights for those accused of sexual assault.   Universal Pre-K for all students Children reach a critical point in their brain development prior to age five. Making preschool accessible to all students would prove to save taxpayer dollars while improving the education of all young Pennsylvanians. The DCDC supports universal preschool in PA for the following reasons:

● High quality preschool is not usually affordable to low-income families, and could be more expensive than housing. Even middle-class families can see high-quality preschool education costing over one-sixth of the household budget.

● High quality preschool can yield between a $4-$12 return to society for each $1 invested.

● State-funded preschool affords low-income families the opportunity to work or pursue further education during the day.

● Studies show that participation in high-quality early care can help children avoid special education, grade repetition, early parenthood, and incarceration – all outcomes that imply large costs for government and for society. 

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© 2020 Dauphin County Democratic Committee | 4811 Jonestown Road, Suite 233, Harrisburg, PA 17109 | 717-233-1321