(Apr 18) Johnstown Forum (feat. Ron Cowell) Discusses Need for Adequate Education Funding

By Ronald Fisher
The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat

Education and business leaders from the Greater Johnstown area turned their focus Tuesday to how inadequate funding can lead to academic struggles, especially for students in poor regions.

A collaboration between the Greater Johnstown School District, Pitt-Johns-town, Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Chamber of Commerce and The Educational Policy and Leadership Center led to discussions surrounding the various financial complexities and challenges facing public education.

During a breakfast at Holiday Inn-Downtown in Johnstown, guest speaker Ron Cowell, president of Harrisburg-based EPLC, spoke about Pennsylvania’s education funding system and its problems.

EPLC works to encourage and support the development and implementation of effective state-level education policies to improve student learning, increase the effective operation of schools and enhance educational opportunities for citizens of all ages

“It’s time to bring awareness and educate people on the difficulties facing school districts across the commonwealth,” said Michael Vuckovich, Greater Johnstown’s acting superintendent. “I think the most important thing we can do is educate everyone about these obstacles and start working together to find solutions.” 

Cowell noted that until 1983, the state share – 50 percent – was embedded in the funding formula for basic education, but it was removed that year after several years of underfunding the formula.

“The purpose of state money is to level the playing field,” Cowell said.

“Create more equal opportunity for kids, whether you are in a poor district or in a rich district. But we began to erode the effectiveness of that formula by underfunding it.

Full story: Area leaders seek key to effective use of dwindling education funding, by Ronald Fisher, The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, 04/18/17

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