EQUITY FIRST JOINS ‘EDUCATION APARTHEID’ RALLY TO FIGHT FOR SCHOOL FUNDING EQUITY

Citizens for Fair School Funding

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Media Contact: Equity First

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 21, 2017

EQUITY FIRST JOINS ‘EDUCATION APARTHEID’ RALLY TO FIGHT FOR SCHOOL FUNDING EQUITY

2017 Agenda Asks Governor Wolf and General Assembly to End the Nation’s Worst School Funding Discrimination in Basic Education and Special Education Funding

(Harrisburg, PA) – June 21, 2017 – Equity First joined with numerous of grassroots coalitions, faith-based members of the community and legislators in the state capitol today for an ‘Education Apartheid’ rally. Organized by POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild, the day of action included visits to the offices of Majority House and Senate Education Committee Chairmen.

Two (2) years after the historic adoption of the bipartisan funding formulas for Basic Education and Special Education, shockingly, only 6% of Basic Education funding and 8% of Special Education funding are running through the adopted funding formulas. These measures result in massive inequities and discrimination among school districts. In fact, Pennsylvania under funds 145 school districts in Basic Education by $1.09 Billion and under funds 179 school districts in Special Education by $165 Million, annually. Tragically, Pennsylvania leads the nation in its discrimination against poor, minority students.

David Parker, Director of Equity First explained “Recent studies show that this funding distribution method discriminates against school districts with higher than average minority populations and it holds true in my home county of Monroe where the least white district (49%) gets less than $2,000 per student and the most-white (77%) district gets more than $4,300 per student. By official policy, Pennsylvania discriminates against schools with higher populations of students of color, and there is no plan to ever get fairness. $5.5 billion in Basic Education Funding and nearly $1 billion in Special Education Funding will continue to be distributed unfairly,” stated Parker.

David Mosenkis, a data scientist and social activist with POWER, is responsible for formulating an analysis that identifies the racial disparities in Pennsylvania’s funding of schools. “Two years ago, I made a disturbing discovery that our state’s public school funding favored white districts over districts of color,” explained Mosenkis.

June 1, 2017 marked the one-year anniversary of the Basic Education funding formula and the 3-year adoption of the Special Education Funding formula. Unfortunately, the anniversaries continue to reveal Pennsylvania has the worst school funding situation in America. With a defined discrimination-level approaching $2.25 Billion, no other state comes close to the levels that Pennsylvania under-funds school districts.

The 2017 Equity First Plan to End School Funding Discrimination:

  • For Basic Education and Special Education funding, the State Budget shall distribute 75% of funding through the bipartisan funding formulas for Basic Education and Special Education in FY 2017-2018; 90% in FY 2018-19; 100% in 2019-2020.
  •      Legislation prohibiting overfunded school districts from receiving any new state funding until all school districts are fully-funded through the bipartisan-adopted funding formulas for Basic Education and Special Education.
  •      Demand adoption of legislation and budget funding to establish the School District Consolidation Fund to incent the efficient consolidation of school districts.
  •      Demand adoption of legislation and budget funding to establish Cost Savings Commissions to thoroughly review all K-12 spending to propose and implement cost-saving strategies and report cost-savings successes to the public, Governor and General Assembly.

For more information, visit www.SupportEquityFirst.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter @EquityFirstOrg.

 


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