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Gov. Wolf calls for drastic school funding shake-up in surprise announcement

The statement came at a press conference about lead abatement, surprising those in attendance.

Governor Tom Wolf greets State Rep. Chris Rabb (D-Philadelphia) during a press conference at Roosevelt Elementary School in Germantown on Friday. (Brad Larrison for WHYY)

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

Gov. Wolf called for a major change to the way Pennsylvania funds schools on Friday, advocating for the state to distribute its largest pot of school money in a way that would benefit the majority of students in the state, but would likely cause deep cuts in many districts.

During questions at a press conference in Philadelphia, Wolf said the state should push all basic education money through the formula that it adopted two years ago.

The formula takes into account factors such as poverty, actual student enrollment and tax effort, and it is now used to distribute increases in state education funds since 2015 — only 8 percent of the total.

Wolf’s remarks seemed unplanned, because the event of the day was related to new money for lead paint abatement in the School District of Philadelphia.

“We need a fair funding formula for all dollars going into public education,” Wolf said in response to a question from Keystone Crossroads.

He later affirmed that he was advocating for a complete formula-based distribution of dollars.

“Yes. Yes,” he said.

The revelation surprised advocates and opponents alike.

Read the rest of this story at WHYY News

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