At this time one year ago, we told state lawmakers that it would take 20 years for poor school districts to be fully funded and that was no longer acceptable. We refused to lose another generation of students to historic and deep funding inequities. We fought for the Level Up program to add new money to the state’s 100 most underfunded school districts and with your help, we did it!
On June 25, 2021 $100 million of additional funding was introduced into the state budget and the 100 most underfunded school districts in the commonwealth began to Level Up.
This year we have a real chance to get $300 million for the poorest kids, and chip away at funding inequities. Governor Wolf and a bipartisan group of lawmakers support this initiative but we need your help to get over the finish line.
- We know now just how inequitable our funding system is. The Urban Institute has identified PA as being on of the most inequitably funded states in the country.
- At the school funding trial, we learned that kids are learning in hallways and closets, schools have one bathroom for more than a hundred elementary school students, and kids are using books from the 1990s.
- We can afford to fund our schools. PENNSYLVANIA HAS A $14 BILLION IN SURPLUS AND UNSPENT FUNDS!
Level Up has already made a difference. The 100 school districts that received Level Up funding in 2021-2022 have used the money to pay for books, counselors, libraries and to avoid teacher furloughs.
Pennsylvania public schools have a $4.6 billion adequacy gap, and a big investment is needed if we ever want to move the needle. With a large surplus lawmakers can fund a $1 billion investment in education including $300 million in Level Up.
An incremental increase of funding provided through Level Up is a good start, but not a silver bullet solution to carry our districts to adequacy – the road to true adequacy at this pace will be a long and slow ride.
Next week represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get this right.
PS: We are in the final stretch of budget season in Harrisburg. Click HERE to register for a webinar with PA Schools Work on Tuesday, June 21 at noon to get an update on what we know about budget negotiations.
PPS: We are hearing that instead of focusing on funding schools, some Republicans are hoping to run ugly bills early next week, including a “Don’t Say Gay” bill. If these bills move, we will let you know ASAP.