Check out the interactive map to see state data for your district. Help spread the word by sharing it with your neighbors.
October 27, 2020 – Right now, 86% of Pennsylvania students attend schools that don’t receive adequate resources for education, according to state law.
Since 2008, Pennsylvania state law has set a formula for calculating the resources that schools need so that their students have a shot at reaching state academic standards. This target for adequate funding was developed in a bipartisan process, and weighted to account for students with greater needs, such as students living in poverty. The law says that the state should calculate how much school districts need to reach this target each year—but they have not done so for years.
As part of our lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s school funding system, we ran the numbers. We found that, according to the state’s formula, 277 Pennsylvania districts need more than $2,000 more per student to adequately support their students’ learning needs and graduate them ready to compete in today’s economy. Altogether, according to the formula built into state law, districts statewide need $4.6 billion more invested over time to adequately educate our children.
277 Pennsylvania districts need more than $2,000 more per student to adequately support their students’ learning needs and graduate them ready to compete in today’s economy
Read more and learn how to get involved on FundOurSchoolsPA.org, our new website for updates on the school funding case.
As you can see on the above map, the districts with the largest per-pupil gaps include urban, suburban, and rural districts. This confirms what thousands of students, teachers, and parents see every day: classrooms and schools without the basics, and students with needs that schools are unable to meet, solely because of a lack of funding.
This underfunding isn’t some abstract principle. It is teachers and counselors. Nurses and librarians. Computers and STEM labs. Art and music. Smaller class sizes and remedial help for children who are struggling to learn.
Though this underfunding is widespread, it is not evenly shared. Pennsylvania is more reliant on local wealth to fund schools than all but six other states. This means that low-wealth districts, serving students with the greatest needs, have the least ability to raise the funds to meet those needs. Pennsylvania spends on average $4,800 less per pupil on students in poor districts that on students in rich districts, and this gap continues to grow. Statewide, Black and Latinx students are also concentrated in the most underfunded districts, with 50% of Black students and 40% of Latinx students attending schools in districts that fall in the bottom 20% in terms of local wealth.