PA’s Education Funding System Failing Constitutional Requirement

The Law Center recently authored a collaborative letter to Governor Corbett concerning the dire state of Pennsylvania’s underfunded schools and unconstitutional funding system. In partnership with the Education Law Center, Education Voters Pennsylvania, Public Citizens for Children and Youth, Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, Pennsylvania League of Urban Schools, and Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools, the Law Center submitted this letter to the Governor urging the state legislature to deal with this critical, systemic failure: “A system that fails to provide for the academic success of its students is not just an academic problem. Today’s students are tomorrow’s workers, citizens and taxpayers. To the extent we fail them today, Pennsylvania’s communities will fail in the future.”

As laid out in the letter, Pennsylvania’s current funding system does not uphold the constitutional mandate that the legislature maintain a “thorough and efficient system of public education.” Even after a 2007 “Education Costing-Out Study” implemented by the State Board of Education identified $4.4 billion in additional revenue needed to meet the constitutional requirement, the state legislature has failed to designate this additional revenue and in real terms has further cut funding. The financial goals adopted following this study are yet again projected to be missed in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Our letter also specifically addresses the continually widening gap between wealthy and poor school districts. Disproportionate funding cuts have fallen on schools that need additional funding most and deprive children of their right to a proper education. Our letter notes, “The consequence is that the quality of a child’s education is determined by the zip code of his or her residence.”

The Law Center and our partner organizations urge the Governor and the legislature to revise the current fiscal system in order to meet constitutional education requirements for all students.

Click here to read the letter to Governor Corbett

Click here to read the press release

Click below for more information on our coalition partners: