Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center joined a press conference on Thursday in support of Senator Vincent Hughes’s plan to invest $3.1 billion in K-12 education.
The plan would add over $2 billion in K-12 funding from general operating funds, including $750 million in basic education funding; $400 milllion for additional for the Level Up program, which provides additional funds to the 100 least-well-funded school districts; $250 million for special education; $275 million to reimburse school districts for the cost of charter schools; $150 million for early childhood education; $125 million for academic support programs; $100 million for mental health supports; and $100 million to recruit more teachers. Sneator Hughes also proposed spending $1 billion from Rainy Day Funds for remediation of toxic schools.
Senator Hughes was joined at the press conference by Senators Sharif Street, Tim Kearney, Jimmy Dillon, and Nick Miller and Represenative Elizabeth Fiedler.
PBPC Director Marc Stier’s remarks at the press conference.
My name is Marc Stier. I’m the director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and chair of the We The People-PA Campaign
We have for years called on the state to fix the inequitable and inadequate funding of K-12 education in our state, which denies our children an equal start in life and denies the rest of us the full benefits of their talents and abilities.
Recently, Judge Jubelirer ruled that the inequity in funding our schools is not only immoral but unconstitutional.
We know, however, that judicial decisions are not self-enforcing. The evidence of other states is that judicial decisions can lead to justice only when advocates and leading legislators pick up the torch handed to them by the courts.
That is why we are so grateful to Senator Hughes, who for years has been the leading legislative advocate for school funding, for putting forward a bold education funding proposal today.
Last year, he led a similar effort and the result was the largest one-year increase in school funding in Pennsylvania history, an increase that took a major step towards making funding more equitable. But we have to do it again this year and in the next few years to finally reach the prize of full and fair educational opportunity we are all seeking.
The time to act is now. With every year of delay, more students leave high school without a chance to secure the education they need. With every year of delay, we subject our children to inadequate and unsafe school facilities. And with every year of delay, children living in poverty, as well as Black and Hispanic children, suffer the most.
So, thank you, Senator Hughes. We are ready to join you in this important effort.