September 12, 2023 – Commonwealth Court’s February 2023 decision finding our school funding system unconstitutional was crystal clear: Now is the time to build a public school funding system that ensures that children in every community have the resources they need to succeed academically, civically, and socially.
The work to build a new school funding system in response to the Court’s ruling has begun, with a series of hearings held by the Basic Education Funding Commission—a bipartisan panel of legislators and Pennsylvania education officials.
The commission is hearing testimony in public hearings, starting September 12, across Pennsylvania from educators, parents, and experts. All hearings will be livestreamed on the commission’s website. To stay in the loop with information about public hearings throughout the fall, sign up for our email list. View a complete list of upcoming hearings and videos of past hearings.
You can help stand up for strong public schools! The Basic Education Funding Commission would like to hear from Pennsylvania parents, students, educators, and taxpayers. Please consider sending the commission a brief comment through their online form.
Speak from the heart. What would sufficient funding to meet students’ needs mean for your community? How have your children been impacted by underfunding in public schools? What would investments in quality public schools mean for our future of our commonwealth?
Your advocacy can make it clear to our legislators and the governor that Pennsylvanians are demanding a public school funding system that fulfills our constitution’s promise.
Many of our leaders in Harrisburg have pledged to develop a plan for a constitutional funding system in time for next year’s state budget process.
The first step: State leaders must determine what level of funding is needed to allow students in every community to attend a public school that provides the meaningful opportunities guaranteed by the constitution. Right now, Pennsylvania does not even attempt to determine how much funding public schools need, but we know they are missing the mark by billions of dollars.
This must include funding for special education, pre-K, and school facilities, in addition to K-12 instruction. More state support must be directed to the students who need it most in low-wealth districts — urban, suburban and rural.
During the four month trial to fund our schools, you heard how our current two-tiered system’s overreliance on local wealth impacts our kids — the students who need the most have the least, because the state shortchanges their communities. As the Court wrote, low-wealth districts “are deprived of the same opportunities and resources” as more affluent areas.
The time is now to ensure that Pennsylvania builds a public education system that gives every student the resources they need to learn, no matter where they live.
Thank you for your commitment to strong public schools in every Pennsylvania community.