PA SCHOOLS WORK AD­VO­CATES FOR OUR SCHOOLS

Centre Daily Times (Sunday) - - Opinion -

Do you know that Penn­syl­va­nia ranks 46th in the state’s share of K-12 ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing? Most states cover 47 per­cent of school costs, but PA con­trib­utes only 38 per­cent. State fund­ing for class­room costs has de­clined since 2013 by $155.3 mil­lion. In­creases in state ed­u­ca­tion ap­pro­pri­a­tions don’t keep pace with ris­ing costs; the fund­ing gap be­tween Penn­syl­va­nia’s low- and high-wealth dis­tricts is the na­tion’s largest. Lo­cal rev­enues av­er­age 56 per­cent of school fund­ing.

De­pen­dence on lo­cal rev­enue leads to in­equities be­tween wealthy and eco­nom­i­cally dis­tressed dis­tricts that often have stu­dents with the great­est needs. In 2016, The Cam­paign for Fair Ed­u­ca­tion Fund­ing en­acted a fair fund­ing for­mula. In 2018, the Cam­paign’s part­ners formed PA Schools Work, a bi­par­ti­san ad­vo­cacy group that pur­sues the fair fund­ing for­mula’s en­act­ment.

PA Schools Work ad­vo­cates for ad­e­quate school fund­ing by unit­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions across the state that rep­re­sent teach­ers, school ad­min­is­tra­tors, school boards, and par­ents; ur­ban, sub­ur­ban and ru­ral schools; and com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions. It is our job to ed­u­cate leg­is­la­tors about these is­sues. Whether there is a R or D by their name is unim­por­tant, but we want an E for ed­u­ca­tion. We must help leg­is­la­tors un­der­stand what to­day’s ed­u­ca­tional en­vi­ron­ment needs to pre­pare stu­dents for the fu­ture.

Please join this new net­work of ed­u­ca­tion ad­vo­cates at paschools work.org. As this new year be­gins, so does the state’s bud­get­ing cy­cle. Con­sider ad­vo­cat­ing for in­creased pub­lic school fund­ing in ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion, spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion and ca­reer tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion, and shar­ing your per­sonal story of school fund­ing needs with state leg­is­la­tors. Carol Hodes, State Col­lege AAUW Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mit­tee

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