This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
A new report from the University of Pennsylvania finds that the state’s school districts need an additional $3.5 billion to educate all students to meet academic proficiency standards.
In a policy brief titled "An Urban Myth? New Evidence on Equity, Adequacy, and the Efficiency of Educational Resources in Pennsylvania," Penn Graduate School of Education professors Matthew Steinberg and Rand Quinn analyze the so-called "adequacy gap" — the difference between what school districts actually have to spend and the amount needed to reach state targets.
Steinberg and Quinn derive their calculations from the "costing out" study that was performed by the Pennsylvania legislature in 2006. It assumed a base per-pupil cost of $8,000 and then awarded districts additional resources based on student-weighted measures such as poverty and English fluency.
Statewide, based on 2009-10 data, Steinberg and Quinn say 412 of the state’s 500 school districts don’t have enough. On average, these districts required an additional $1,559 per pupil in order to provide students with the education that the state expects.