HARRISBURG (APRIL 1, 2015) – The Campaign for Fair Education Funding said today that a new study of the nation’s growing funding inequalities between wealthy and low-income school districts, which found that Pennsylvania has one of the worst funding gaps in the nation, offers yet one more reason why state lawmakers need to enact a sustainable and fair basic education funding formula.
A research report by the Education Trust, an independent national education policy organization, found that when adjusting for the additional needs of low-income students, the highest poverty districts in Pennsylvania receive $2,491, or 17%, less per student than districts with the lowest poverty.
The report, Funding Gaps 2015, placed the state as second worst in the nation. Even when not factoring in the additional needs of poor students, the report found that Pennsylvania had the third worst funding gap of all the states. The report called the disparity ‘devastatingly large.’
The report also found that Pennsylvania’s share for funding public education, at 38 % of the total, ties for 4th from the bottom among all states. (The findings are based on 2012 data.)
“Every child deserves access to a quality education and that will only happen if we close this funding gap and if we properly fund public education,” said Dr. Joan Duvall-Flynn, Education Committee Chair for the Pennsylvania NAACP.
“Public education is a shared responsibility and the state has to do more to help give all students a fair chance,” Duvall-Flynn added.
PA NAACP is one of 54 organizations who have joined the The Campaign for Fair Education Funding. The campaign’s member organizations include educators, labor, business groups, faith-based organizations, child advocates, charter schools, traditional public schools and representatives from rural, urban and growing school districts.
The Campaign has proposed a funding formula designed to boost student outcomes in all parts of the state by helping to close funding shortfalls, improve equity, and ensure accountability and efficiency.
Patrick Dowd, Executive Director of Pittsburgh-based Allies for Children and a campaign member, also called for state action and noted that the campaign looks forward to the Basic Education Funding Commission’s final recommendations.
“The fact that such a broad group of diverse interests has come together to support a formula is a great step forward,” Dowd said. “We are working to draw attention to the need for a formula that puts students first and we continue to add new member organizations daily.”
“This new study comes on the heels of another recently released national study that showed Pennsylvania at the bottom of all states in school funding fairness,” Dowd said. “The time has come for Pennsylvania to address this challenge and give every single student a fair shot.”
For more information, contact Charlie Lyons or Pete Shelly at 717-724-1681 or visit www.fairfundingpa.org.