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Panel Aims To Revamp PA Ed Funding Formula

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Budget Secretary Charles Zogby (top right) speaks at commission's first meeting. (credit: Tony Romeo)

Budget Secretary Charles Zogby (top right) speaks at commission’s first meeting. (credit: Tony Romeo)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — A new commission empanelled by the Pennsylvania legislature to redraw the state’s formula to fund basic education has held its first meeting.

Budget Secretary Charles Zogby, a member of the Basic Education Funding Commission, says coming up with a new, fair funding formula for schools would be a tremendous achievement.

“This is really to me the brass ring,” Zogby says. “There’s so many problems that we face, issues that we face in basic education — and a lot of them, I think, are tied to what is truly a broken funding system that we have.”

The co-chairman of the commission, Montgomery County House Republican Mike Vereb, says they have their hands full with the task of redesigning the state’s education formula.

“It’s a Herculean task that we look at working aggressively over the next few months,” he says.

Philadelphia Democrat James Roebuck believes Pennsylvania should look at what’s being done in other states.

“I think there are any number of models that we might look at and replicate those that work,” Roebuck says, “and use them to improve what we have here.”

Roebuck, also a member of the new Basic Education Funding Commission, is also the ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee.

The Basic Education Funding Commission’s work begins a year after a panel was created to redesign the formula for special education funding. That panel’s recommendations have now been implemented.

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