Where PA stands – One Year After the Release of the BEFC Report…

It’s that time of year – kids are just out of school and school boards voting on tough decisions for next year’s school budgets.

This week, the news was riddled with articles of school boards voting for tax hikes, program cuts, teacher reductions staff eliminations, and ending kindergarten classes!

* Hazleton Area SD in Luzerne County voted to cut all kindergarten to half days, and eliminate 30 teaching positions.  They even voted to reduce school weeks to four days in the months of December, January and February to offset expenses.  And, they still would have a $3 million shortfall after these cuts.

* Muhlenberg SD in Berks County, voted for a 2.7% tax increase to avoid making painful cuts to curriculum and other line items.

* Stroudsburg SD in Monroe County voted for a whopping 6 mill tax increase, even after eliminated 24 positions in April.

School districts are facing the biggest financial challenges in the history of public education.

Worse yet, the new Basic Education Funding formula confirms 150 districts are receiving $1.1 Billion less than 350 school districts receive relative to poverty, ability-to-pay, property values and enrollment.  900,000 students are receiving less than $1.1 Billion in Basic Education Funding and two statewide associations, the Pennsylvania School Board Association and Pennsylvania Associations and School Administrators not only support this level of underfunding but have issued a Statement opposing any remedial funding to the underfunded districts.

* Reading School District’s Superintendent Dr. Khalid Mumin wants to know when is it Reading’s time to shine?

* Erie School District’s Superintendent Dr. Badams believes banks won’t lend his district any more funds. Erie SD is faced with closing four high schools next school year if they can’t figure out a solution. In recent years, salaries have been frozen, three schools closed, more than 200 jobs were eliminated just to name a few painful scenarios.

Equity First was solely formed and focused on getting the state’s 150 underfunded school districts PAID.  We believe it’s outrageous to adopt a school funding formula that confirms 150 school districts are underfunded by $1.1 billion and Do Nothing.

Equity First will leave no stone unturned until every student in every school district receives full and fair funding. www.SupportEquityFirst.org

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