Citizens for Fair School Funding
“Equity First”
Media Contact: Equity First
717.975.7430 | @EquityFirstOrg


March 1, 2018



Harrisburg School District is Underfunded by $31.77 Million Every Year in Basic and Special Education Funding

(Harrisburg, PA) – March 1, 2018 – The Citizens for Fair School Funding declared funding war on Pennsylvania school funding and shared its 2018 battle plan at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Harrisburg with a large group of community leaders and activists. The group is recruiting Pennsylvania volunteers for 6-month enlistments to join the #CivilFundingWar for the May/June budget battle.

Three (3) years after the historic adoption of the bipartisan funding formulas for Basic Education and Special Education, shockingly, only 6% of Basic Education funding and 8% of Special Education funding are running through the adopted new funding formulas. Tragically, this inequity makes Pennsylvania worst in nation in its discrimination against poor, minority students.

Despite adoption of new formulas and three (3) successive state budgets under Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania state government continues to purposely underfund minority school districts and knowingly overfund white districts. Mostly white school districts, on the other hand, greatly benefit from this delay in fair school funding.

Kelly Lewis, former state representative and Chairman of Equity First explained, “With so much damning evidence, it’s disappointing to see so many state associations turn a blind eye. Every budget year, the overfunded school districts, state associations and special interests work together to block and delay fixing the worst school funding situation in America.” Lewis added, “we’ve seen the devastation caused by this funding atrocity to children and families. With this Declaration of a Civil Funding War, we are making our demands and terms of engagement crystal clear. We will never surrender until there is unconditional fairness in school funding.”

The 2018 #CivilFundingWar Battle Plan to End School Funding Discrimination:

  • Effective immediately, the State Budget shall distribute 100% of funding through the bipartisan funding formulas for Basic Education and Special Education for all students.
  • No overfunded school districts shall receive any new state funding until all school districts are fully-funded through the bipartisan-adopted funding formulas for Basic Education and Special Education.
  • 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.

For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @EquityFirstOrg. 

The Citizens for Fair School Funding is a non-profit organization established to (1) raise awareness of the findings of the June 2015 bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission, (2) help underfunded school districts get funding equity as soon as possible so they don’t remain underfunded for another 25 years (3) support the establishment of the School Consolidation Fund and Cost-Savings Commission recommended in the BEF Commission Report.