PA needs a system that fulfills the education promise made in our constitution

Pennsylvania’s constitution requires the state to provide every student a meaningful opportunity to succeed in school. All students should have access to a comprehensive, effective, and contemporary public education.

Our current system for funding schools, which relies heavily on local property taxes tied to community wealth and wages, violates this constitutional promise. Students who live in school districts with low property values and incomes or a higher proportion of untaxable property like government buildings & houses of worship don’t receive the same educational resources and opportunities as students who live where property values and incomes are higher.

The result: Pennsylvania has one of the worst disparities in educational support in the nation. This deprives children in communities across Pennsylvania – rural, suburban, and urban – of equal protection under the law. It is unconstitutional, as Commonwealth Court has finally affirmed.

It’s time for the legislature to create a funding system for our schools in which every student and every taxpayer is treated equally. That should be every legislator’s goal moving forward, not denying the reality of our current disparity and trying to maintain a system that does not provide the education every student across Pennsylvania has been promised and deserves.

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Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton; Democratic Leader Matthew Bradford; Democratic Appropriations Chairman Jordan Harris; Representative Bryan Cutler; Senator Jay Costa; Senator Kim Ward; Senator Scott Martin; Representative Seth Grove; Senator Vincent Hughes; Your Representative; Your Senator.

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Commonwealth Court has ruled that Pennsylvania’s constitution requires us to give every child access to a quality public education.  

Our current system for funding schools does not do that and is unconstitutional.

It isn’t fair that while some students start school with a new MacBook, others just a few miles away start school forced to share a math book. And it isn’t fair that in some communities, funding for schools requires a much heavier burden on local taxpayers than in other communities.

It’s time to take steps toward fixing our broken and unconstitutional public school funding system. Making sure every child has equal educational resources and opportunities, no matter where they live, is key to the future success of our kids, their communities, and our commonwealth.

It’s time to stop leaving millions of Pennsylvania children behind. Pass legislation that finally gives every child in Pennsylvania the thorough and efficient education we have promised them, and that they deserve.

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