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FINAL WOLF BUDGET IS CRUCIAL DOWN PAYMENT TOWARD CLOSING PA’s CHRONIC SCHOOL FUNDING GAP

Feb 8, 2022

FINAL WOLF BUDGET IS CRUCIAL DOWN PAYMENT TOWARD CLOSING PA’s CHRONIC SCHOOL FUNDING GAP

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                             

Contact:  John Neurohr

717-364-6452 / jneurohr@shelly-lyons.com

HARRISBURG, PA (February 8, 2022) – The PA Schools Work Campaign, a coalition of more than 30 organizations from across Pennsylvania representing educators; urban, rural, and suburban communities; parents and community leaders working together to increase funding for PA public schools, saluted Governor Wolf for proposing a meaningful investment of $1.75 billion for public education in the 2022-23 executive budget.

The coalition issued the following statement on behalf of its supporters across the commonwealth working toward a collective goal of increased, sustainable public education funding to support excellent education for all students regardless of zip code.

“We support Governor Wolf’s proposal for a $1.75 billion investment in public education, which represents a crucial down payment toward closing Pennsylvania’s chronic school funding gap. Throughout his tenure, Governor Wolf has focused on funding school district’s equitably and adequately – we salute his efforts.

“Governor Wolf’s proposal is not a pie in the sky ask. The need is clear, and the state has the money. We applaud Governor Wolf for once again recognizing the need for a significant down payment on what we owe our students – including accelerating funding to schools and communities that need it most through the Level Up program and critical investments in special education and career and technical education – and we are encouraged by the positive economic position the commonwealth finds itself in, which will allow us to make that needed investment in our kids and our communicates.

“Pennsylvania’s chronic underfunding is failing students and local taxpayers and weakening Pennsylvania’s future. More than half of Pennsylvania school districts – 277 to be exact – need more than $2,000 per student to adequately support their students’ learning needs, totaling $4.6 billion. Recent testimony in the historic school funding case being heard now in Commonwealth Court illustrates is laying bare the reality that so many of our school districts fall further behind every year Pennsylvania schools operate under the $4.6 billion adequacy gap caused by underfunding at the state level.

“The tangible reality of our adequacy gap is being played out day after day in classrooms across the commonwealth, and the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the inequities and inadequacies that have long been in place. Luckily, the state is able to make the needed investments – estimates show that Pennsylvania will have an accumulated surplus and unspent funds available of almost $12 billion by the end of June. Now is the time to act.”

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PA Schools Work is a non-partisan coalition of organizations from across Pennsylvania representing teachers and other educators; urban, suburban, and rural communities; and parents and community members working together to advocate for PA public schools, their students, and the communities they serve. For more information on PA Schools Work, visit paschoolswork.org.

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