After decades of fierce and bitter debate, over the past three years, the Pennsylvania General Assembly adopted bipartisan funding distribution formulas for Special Education and Basic Education funding. As predicted, the adoption of fair funding formulas based on poverty, the ability to pay, home values and other economic criteria immediately revealed widespread discrimination. Both special education and basic education had blistering billion-dollar disparities.
To date, despite full knowledge of these massively discriminatory funding allocations and calls for reparations to underfunded school districts, the last two state budgets blatantly allocated additional special education and basic education funding to overfunded school districts.
This unfair distribution in funding has crushed taxpayers, students, educators and local economies. In many underfunded school districts, school property taxes have skyrocketed. In other districts, property values have plummeted. The underfunding has forced too many districts to reduce staff and cut back on academic programs resulting in increased class sizes and reduced performance on standardized test scores in math and science.
It’s simple math. If the state government doesn’t allocate special reparations to “catch-up” underfunded school districts, they will remain underfunded by official government policy for another 25 years.
Equity First is demanding equality of funding allocations in the state budget.
Affected students, parents, taxpayers, educators, school leaders and community groups must get loud, and demand equality in funding.
Without your participation, Harrisburg will continue its business-as-usual funding allocations and 150 districts will remain severely underfunded.
GET LOUD. FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS.
Equity First Mission
The tactics and strategies of Equity First shall fix discriminatory allocations of Pennsylvania state funding for education and other government programs.
The 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.