By 2016, the Pennsylvania General Assembly adopted bipartisan funding formula laws for Special Education and Basic Education funding. The fair funding formulas were based on economic criteria like poverty rates, the ability to pay, home values and household income. As many predicted, the formulas revealed widespread funding discrimination between 500 school districts.
Despite common knowledge of the inequity, the Governor and General Assembly have passed five (5) state budgets that have done nothing to fix the worst school funding discrimination in the nation.
Some of the most underfunded school districts include Harrisburg School District (the capital city) which is annually underfunded by $37 million, Reading by $101 million, Scranton by $29 million, City of Philadelphia by $440 million and York by $59 Million, annually.
The brutal truth: Today,150 school districts are underfunded by $1.22 Billion in basic and special education, despite funding law requirements.
The brutal truth: Unbelievably, 14 school districts are overfunded by $10 Million in basic and special education. 13 of those 14 overfunded-districts are more than 92% white.
The brutal truth: Dozens of state and national reports demonstrate Pennsylvania is sustaining the worse, most inequitable, and racist K-12 education funding in the United States.
This funding inequity is crushing taxpayers, students, educators, local economies and real estate values.
It’s simple math. If the state government doesn’t allocate “catch-up” funding to the underfunded school districts, they will remain underfunded by official government policy, in perpetuity.
Therefore, the 2020 Equity First Legislative Agenda supports a $1.22 Billion increase in Basic and Special Education funding to bring all 500 school districts to their baseline funding allocations under the funding formula laws.
SUPPORT EQUITY FIRST!
The Mission of Equity First: Everyone at Equity First is focused on fixing Pennsylvania’s discriminatory funding systems for school funding and other government programs.
Implement the findings of the bipartisan Basic and Special Education Funding Commissions:
- Every school district receives their equitable allocation of all school funding.
- Establish the School District Consolidation Fund to encourage the efficient consolidation of school districts.
- Cap the Fund Balance and Reserve Fund account balances at 18%.
- Establish a Cost Savings Commission to scrutinize all K-12 spending to implement cost-saving strategies.