The state's new Basic Education Funding Commission has a year to recommend a fix for the inequitable formula now used to distribute money to Pennsylvania's 500 school districts.

We're not sure why the 15 members — six senators, six House representatives and three state administrators — need until next June.

It seems they should be able to wrap this up by the end of the year, allowing districts plenty of time to plan their 2015-16 budgets using a fair formula for a change.

Sure, the current funding formula hasn't been revised since 1991, and things have gotten far out of whack in nearly 25 years.

But it doesn't take a genius — or even a commission of geniuses — to figure out how to make it right:

Start with the amount of money the state spends on basic education, divide it by the total number of students and multiply that by the number of students registered in each district.

That equals each district's fair share of Pennsylvania's education funding.

Details will need to be worked out, such as adjustments for poverty levels, but the basic shape of a new formula should be one that assigns the same amount of money for every student.

If enrollment declines, a district receives less money. If the number of students grows, so does the funding.

Of course it makes sense, but that's not how it has been done.


An analysis by The York Dispatch in April showed Pennsylvania's 10 top school districts in terms of per pupil funding decreased in enrollment but continued to receive increases in state funding.

Meanwhile, a majority of York County school districts grew in number but were ranked at the bottom of the list in terms of increased funding.

Thankfully, our area is well-represented on the funding formula commission, which has a second meeting scheduled for Aug. 20.

We hope state Sens. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon/York, and Rob Teplitz, D-Dauphin/York, can quickly convince their fellow members to use equal funding per student as a starting point.

Even assuming adjustments will be made, York County taxpayers and schools would be better off than they've been in years.