August 28, 2023Dear Governor Shapiro and Members of the General Assembly:
The Pennsylvania School Works Campaign urges all parties involved in continued negotiations over finalizing the FY 2023-24 budget to expeditiously proceed with enabling the release of all funds appropriated for education, including the funds allocated for the Level Up Supplement. The Level
Up supplement has enjoyed bipartisan support in the last two budget cycles because, in rural, urban, and suburban communities alike, it accelerates and complements the progress being made by the state to provide critical resources to the districts that need it most. These Level Up districts, located in every part of the state, educate the majority of low-income students in the Commonwealth.
Given that Level Up Supplement funds were appropriated in the enacted budget, it’s clear the Commonwealth has sufficient funds to make these payments to the 100 school districts that are far short of what’s needed to educate the state’s neediest students. For these students, these schools are their lifeline. The dishonest rhetoric blaming underfunded public schools for underperforming – rather than an unconstitutional state funding system that is failing less well-off districts – is patently inaccurate as demonstrated by both the evidence provided in William Penn v The Commonwealth and by the decisive decision of The Honorable Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer. We know that when Pennsylvania’s public schools are adequately funded, they work. We know when children are given meaningful opportunities in their public schools, they succeed.
Any move to use the code bills to increase funding to non-public schools – which serve less than 10% of all students in the Commonwealth – runs counter to the constitutional directive to ensure all students in Pennsylvania have access to meaningful public education opportunities no matter
where they live.
The PA Schools Work Campaign, including:
The ARC of Pennsylvania
Education Law Center
Education Voters of Pennsylvania
Keystone Research Center
Make the Road PA
PA Youth Vote
Pennsylvania Policy Center
Public Interest Law Center
Research for Action
Teach Plus PA
Urban League of Philadelphia