Civil Funding War

Civil Funding War

$700 Billion Economy and $160 Billion a Year in Government Funding 

BUT Pennsylvania Still Knowingly-Underfunds its Poorest Boys and Girls

“It’s Going to Take a Non-Violent Civil Funding War to Fix This”

(Harrisburg, PA) – This situation is terribly wrong and it’s time to fix it.  For decades Pennsylvania has purposely and knowingly-underfunded our most vulnerable children in mostly minority school districts in broad daylight.   Despite wide-knowledge of this situation, the last three (3) state budgets have done little to fix this.  Worse, the Governor and General Assembly knowingly-underfund our poorest and vulnerable special-needs children. All in broad daylight.

Pennsylvania knowingly-underfunds its poorest children with intellectual disabilities, hearing impairments, speech or language impairments, visual impairments (including blindness), emotional disturbances, orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injuries, specific learning disabilities, deafness, deaf-blindness, and multiple disabilities.  Pennsylvania knowingly-underfunds the poorest of them all.

In broad daylight, Pennsylvania knowingly-overfunds the wealthiest, mostly white districts in special and basic education funding.  89% white, Council Rock School District is overfunded by $10.18 million, every year.  6% white, Reading School District is underfunded by $104.31 million, every year.   8% of Council Rock students qualify for federal school lunch program (“NSLP”), while 99.7% of Reading students qualify for NLSP.

People get upset when we call this racism.  We won’t shut-up.

Pennsylvania knowingly-underfunds its poorest boys and girls and its most vulnerable special-needs children.

Today, 92 school districts get 25% less than their special education formula allocation.  These 92 unlucky districts need $92,305,987 just to bring them to 75% of their recommended funding level.  Most of these 92 districts are the poorest, most minority districts in Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania has a $700 Billion GDP economy and our Governor and General Assembly knowingly-underfund the poorest special-needs boys and girls in the most minority school districts.

By any definition, that’s racism.

The whole of government funding in Pennsylvania exceeds $160 Billion Dollars a year and for four (4) straight budgets the General Assembly and Governor consciously-decidedknowingly-withheld $92.3 million from 92 school districts with the most vulnerable special needs students that only gets them to 75% funding.

Council Rock School District is considered one of the wealthiest, top-performing, highest-paid districts.  Council Rock SD gets $4.54 million more in Special Education funding and $5.64 million more in Basic Education funding, every year than the formulas dictate.  In total, Council Rock is knowingly-overfunded by more than $10.18 million every year while the poorest, most minority districts are knowingly-underfunded.  That’s as wrong as wrong gets.

In Basic Education, 150 districts are knowingly-underfunded by $1.2 billion while 350 districts are knowingly-overfunded by $1.2 million.  Most of the 150 districts are the poorest, most minority districts.

No, we won’t shut up. We are Equity First. We are starting a civil funding war.

“It’s going to take a non-violent civil funding war to fix this,” stated Kelly Lewis, co-founder of Equity First. “We are building a bold army of volunteer leaders to get fair funding for Pennsylvania’s poorest, most vulnerable children.”

Real estate owners in knowingly-underfunded districts should be outraged.  Council Rock has high property tax values and that’s great what everyone wants.  Reading has a struggling real estate market.  Yet, Reading is knowingly-underfunded by $104.3 million every year.  That’s not a typo.  Imagine the Reading real estate market if the district was fairly funded by $104 million every year.  Knowingly-underfunding school districts is severely impacting real estate valuations in Pennsylvania.  Why is Reading, quiet?  Why are Reading real estate owners and parents, quiet?

Allentown, York, and Lancaster are knowingly-underfunded by $168.87 million, every year.  Their students are severely underfunded as well as their taxpayers.

Why are Republicans, the party of Lincoln; and Democrats, the champions of the poor, quiet?

For three (3) straight state budgets, these facts were well-known to every member of the General Assembly and Governor Wolf.   Nothing short of a civil funding war will get their attention.

Today we remember the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.  There will be breakfasts, lunches, dinners and toasts made in remembrance of this brave American. While civilization and America have made progress over the last 240 years, there remain serious tasks before us.  In 2017, Pennsylvania knowingly-underfunds its poorest children, including our most vulnerable special needs children.

Today is the perfect day to call Governor Wolf and your state senators and state representatives and nicely tell them you want every student fairly funded in Pennsylvania.  717.787.2500

Today please join our mailing list, like and share us on Facebook and join me in donating to Equity First, a Pennsylvania non-profit.  Every dollar raised is invested in this fight. Working together we will fix this.

Kelly Lewis is a citizen of Pennsylvania and co-founder of

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