ELC Praises New School Funding Formula But Urges Legislature to Fully Fund PA Schools to Meet Student Needs
This month, Pennsylvania took a groundbreaking step towards fair school funding and ensuring a quality education for every child. The state's bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission unanimously endorsed a proposal for a rigorous student-weighted funding system that recognizes the significant cost of educating vulnerable students.
We are pleased that the Basic Education Funding Commission's proposal uses student and district weights to distribute money. For example, by giving additional weight to students living in poverty -- especially those living in concentrated poverty -- the Commission has recognized the significant and unique challenges facing schools that serve our most vulnerable learners. But the Commission's proposal alone will not solve Pennsylvania's underlying funding inequalities. To truly achieve equity, the General Assembly must commit to investing significant new dollars in the basic education budget, beginning with restoring the major cuts that hit poor districts the hardest. Before fully implementing a formula, Pennsylvania must first fill the gaping holes in the budgets of our poorest districts.
The Legislature's proposed education budget underfunds our schools and does not reflect a true commitment to ensuring that all of Pennsylvania's children receive a quality education. The Legislature's budget provides only a fraction of what many say is required to serve the documented needs of students. It is also less than 25 percent of the new funds recommended in the Governor's budget for basic education and only 20 percent of new funds recommended for special education.
Please contact your legislator to request that the Legislature work with the Governor on a bi-partisan budget that provides at least $400M in new basic education dollars for schools, restores the 2010 cuts, and adopts the new formula.
Read more about the Commission's report in coverage by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Washington Post. You can also read the Education Law Center's full statement here and op-ed on the underfunded budget here. Join the Campaign for Fair Education Funding here.
|Team ELC in Harrisburg at the Rally for Fair Education Funding|
Success! ELC Celebrates Client Graduations!
ELC works throughout the school year to ensure that students who face barriers to graduation are able to graduate. Our work helps students in the dependency system, English language learners, youth returning from juvenile justice placements, and students with disabilities convince school districts to give these students the support services and academic credits they need to receive diplomas. Our "graduates" this year are impressive!
For example, in March, Taylor learned that she could not graduate from her public charter school or attend college because the private school she had previously attended refused to release her education records due to outstanding tuition payments that her family could not afford. Without these records, Taylor's public charter school told her that she did not fulfill their graduation requirements. ELC intervened to enforce a law that prohibits a public school from refusing to allow a student to graduate when such records are withheld. ELC persuaded the school (with an enrollment of more than 10,000 students) to adopt a compliant policy that allows Taylor, and other students in her situation, to graduate rather than being punished for her family's financial hardship.
Caps off to Taylor, pictured here, who graduated on June 13th and will attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania this Fall. We are proud of her and all of our great graduates!!