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Pennsylvania School Funding and School Staffing Disparities

Pennsylvania operates one of the most inequitable public school systems in the nation, with among the largest disparities in school funding, educational opportunities, and student achievement. In this brief, RFA examines the relationship between school funding in Pennsylvania and one of the most critical indicators of educational opportunity—student access to teachers, administrators, and professional support staff. 

We find that despite serving the most students with high-cost needs, Pennsylvania’s inadequately funded school districts would need to hire more than 11,000 additional teachers, 1,000 administrators, and 1,600 professional support staff and to spend an additional $2.6 billion in salaries alone just to provide what students receive in Pennsylvania’s adequately funded districts. We conclude that without reversing these staffing disparities, which are rooted in funding disparities, Pennsylvania policymakers are unlikely to reverse disparities in student achievement. 

Readers can also download a spreadsheet with district level findings.