What Would Student-Based Allocation Mean for Pennsylvania School Districts?


  • Marguerite Roza Temple University Press
  • Amanda Warco




In recent months, policymakers across the country have been exploring state school financing formulas with the goals of promoting equity, transparency, and adequacy. Toward that end, state leaders are considering a new model for disbursing state education funds called “student-based allocation” (SBA)—one that would allocate funds on the basis of students. In fact, many states already have some sort of formula using students as the basis, although in practice, most essentially use a hybrid set of allocations such that the portion of funds allocated on the basis of students varies substantially across states. This analysis of 14 states shows that among the sampled states, between 0 and 85% of all state and local funds is allocated on the basis of students. In Pennsylvania, after operating in the absence of a formal allocation formula for several years, the Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC) was tasked with recommending a new finance scheme for funding the state’s schools. In this paper, we outline the rationale behind SBA and investigate the extent to which the BEFC proposal would allocate funds on the basis of students.