USA Today: Situated Side By Side, Lower Merion and Philadelphia School Districts Perfectly Reflect Disparity in School Funding for Pennsylvania

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Sitting side by side, the Lower Merion School District and Philadelphia School District provide a perfect example of the disparity in school funding for Pennsylvania and the effects educational gerrymandering has on children who do not live in affluent communities, writes Alia Wong in a 3,100-word investigation written for USA Today.

Pennsylvania ranks 45th in the nation for the share of school funding provided by the state.

The less money schools receive, the more they rely on local property taxes. This puts affluent communities like Lower Merion in a significantly better position, as property taxes are higher and spending per student is significantly higher. This is reflected in student results.

Lower Merion School District has some of the highest-achieving schools in the Keystone State. Unsurprising, as it brings in more than $32,000 a year per student. Schools have buildings filled with various kinds of labs boasting the latest equipment and many other amenities.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia County right next door, education looks very different.

Philadelphia School District has under $21,000 a year per student. The schools are deteriorating and most of the equipment is outdated and falling apart.

According to Bellwether Education Partners report, one way to bridge this disparity is for the state to provide a larger share of education funding to lessen the impact of property tax differences.

Read more about the funding disparity issue in the USA Today.

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