PENNSYLVANIA KINDERGARTEN STUDENTS PUNISHED
June 10, 2016 (Harrisburg, PA) – With the Governor’s swift pen 900,000 students, most in the poorest, struggling school districts in the nation will remain underfunded for more than twenty-five (25) years. For Kindergarten students at 150 school districts statewide, they will remain underfunded for their entire K-12 education, punishment by their zip codes.
While 350 over-funded school districts have celebrated the recent passage of House Bill 1552, the Basic Education Funding formula, Kindergarten students in more than 100 school districts won’t experience fair-funding in Basic Education funding, by far the state’s largest budget allocation in the annual General Fund budget. 350 districts are overfunded by $1.1 Billion dollars, leaving 150 districts underfunded by $1.1 Billion.
“A book once proclaimed everything you needed to know, you learned in Kindergarten,” said Rebecca Kann, Executive Director of Equity First. “Today, Kindergarten students and other students, taxpayers and educators are learning the bitter-truth from Harrisburg, that fairness has been proclaimed across the land, and by the new definition of fairness, students from 150 school districts will remain underfunded for more than twenty-five (25) years.”
“My beloved Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Tucker, would be appalled,” said Kelly Lewis, Chairman of Equity First’s Board of Directors, and a former state legislator. “All of the facts and figures demonstrate the negative impacts to students, taxpayers, educators and the real estate market values in distressed districts. Under-funding the kids for another 25 years also crushes the economy and real estate valuations.”
Kindergarten students in 150 school districts across Pennsylvania will remain underfunded throughout their entire K-12 academic careers. Based on statements, House Bill 1552 will take 25 years or more to fully implement its campaign definition of fair funding, and apparently, “that’s OK.” School districts like Reading, Allentown, York City, Wilkes-Barre and Erie City are among the most affected.
To fix the massive inequity between under-funded and over-funded districts in Basic Education, EQUITY FIRST wants the General Assembly and Governor to direct all new education funding proportionately to the under-funded School Districts until they reach parity with the over-funded districts. Instead of 25 years, equity could be reached in five to ten years, depending on the level of annual allocations. “We want to see this year’s Kindergarten class graduate high school with full-funding,” Kann added.
Equity First’s mission is to get the findings of the June 2015 Basic Education Commission Report adopted, funded and fully implemented as soon as possible so underfunded school districts get PAID. www.SupportEquityFirst.org