Leaders of statewide groups that represent school boards, school business officials and educational coalitions released a survey they commissioned among selected voters in Pennsylvania.
The majority of the voters surveyed said public schools affect the economy and that school funding should be increased.
When asked, 84 percent of voters in Pennsylvania said they believe public schools have a very strong effect on economic development. Advocates say this is evidence the state needs a fairer funding formula.
“The public is well aware that the investment in education can produce, will produce economic return," said Jim Buckheit, director of Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators. "I think that’s certainly instructive to state policy makers that certainly the investments in the right things and the right places, will produce results that will benefit Pennsylvania’s economy now and into the future.”
Seventy-one percent of Pennsylvanians surveyed said the states investment in public schools needs to be larger. And 67 percent said schools with greater poverty should definitely or probably receive more state funding.
“All of our organizations believe that a state formula does need to provide the school districts with restrictive tax bases, additional resources to help equalize educational opportunity,” said Jay Himes, director of Pennsylvania School Business Officials.
According to the The Associated Press, Gov. Tom Corbett is proposing a 3 percent increase in school aid for the next fiscal year. This includes a $340 million grant that gives schools flexibility in improving student achievement.