Lawmakers Must Immediately Look to Rectify Long-standing Funding Gaps to Keep Students on Track and Address Dire Needs of PA School Districts

HARRISBURG, PA (November 21, 2020) – The statewide education advocacy campaign PA Schools Work issued the following statement on funding for public schools in Pennsylvania after the General Assembly passed a budget for the remainder of the 2020-21 fiscal year:

“The General Assembly passed a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year under difficult financial conditions, so it is understandable that this supplemental budget did not invest more in our public schools beyond the flat-funded budget passed earlier this year. Yet that should not obscure the fact that our schools, and the students they serve, continue to struggle.

“As Coronavirus cases spike across the commonwealth, school districts are again facing difficult decisions about creating learning environments that are both conducive to educating and safe for students, teachers, and support staff. Educating students during this pandemic means increased costs for school districts, even as they continue to deal with shortfalls in local revenue created by the COVID-driven economic turmoil.

“This school year has been a monumental challenge, but next year will also be difficult. As the legislative session draws to a close and legislators leave Harrisburg, they should recognize that increased education funding should be front and center when they begin deliberating next year’s budget early in 2021.  While lawmakers recognized the need for some financial certainty by level funding school districts for this school year, that funding does not meet the true need in our schools.

“In Pennsylvania, we have a longstanding, multi-billion dollar problem in our schools that continues to worsen. It will not disappear even when the pandemic does. As we have said year after year, state lawmakers must reach a permanent school funding solution that fairly invests in all our students and positions them to succeed.”

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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.