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Report: Philadelphia among most fiscally disadvantaged school districts

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

On the day when Gov. Wolf said he would allow to become law a Republican spending plan that significantly pares back what he wants to invest in education around the state, a recent report confirmed that Philadelphia and several other Pennsylvania districts are among the most fiscally distressed in the country.

The report, by the Education Law Center at Rutgers University, compares education investment and relative poverty rates in a given labor market to come up with an index of fiscal distress for school districts.

Using this method, Philadelphia and Chicago come out as most continuously disadvantaged among the large urban districts. Philadelphia has more than twice the average poverty rate, but just 80 percent of the average for per-pupil spending for its area.

Two other Pennsylvania districts, Allentown and Reading, show up as the most disadvantaged in the country. Each has more than two-and-a-half times the average poverty rate and less than 80 percent of the average revenue per student.

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