SCHOOL FUNDING IN PA: WE MUST DO BETTER
Every child in Pennsylvania deserves robust course choices, class sizes that allow for personalized support, enough school counselors and nurses, and a safe learning environment so they can thrive and succeed in school today and live productive, fulfilling lives after graduation.
But we don’t provide students in every community with the support they need to reach their potential.
Pennsylvania ranks 45th in the nation for state share of funding for K-12 education. When the state share of funding is low, communities must rely on local wealth – property taxes – to fund their schools. Communities with a robust local tax base can raise sufficient funding to meet students’ needs. Other communities simply cannot raise enough money at the local level, even with a very high local tax effort.
Pennsylvania’s Basic Education Funding formula does direct more dollars to districts with higher levels of need. But only a small percentage of education spending is distributed using the formula. Students in districts with the greatest needs are deeply shortchanged. It’s not a level playing field.
Pennsylvania has one of the most inequitable school funding systems in America. The wealthiest school districts spend, on average, $4,800 more per student than the poorest, and that gap has grown steadily wider.
At the current rate of increase in state educational spending, it will take decades or more for the most underfunded districts to reach adequate funding.
Level Up is a fresh alternative approach that can immediately begin to address the needs of the state’s most underfunded districts, which have been ignored for too long – while we continue to build support for a more ambitious investment in basic education funding and educational equity like the plan proposed by the governor.
Let’s level up school funding for our most underfunded schools and give every student in Pennsylvania a chance for success!
ADVOCATES LAUD $100 MILLION LEVEL UP INVESTMENT IN FINAL 2023-24 PA BUDGET; BUT MORE IS NEEDED
Harrisburg, PA — The Level Up Coalition issued the following statement in response to the final 2023-24 PA budget passed Wednesday night:
“By including an additional $100 million in Level Up funding in the final budget, the Pennsylvania legislature activated a critical equity vehicle in the current Pennsylvania school funding structure... READ MORE
LEVEL UP COALITION ISSUES STATEMENT ON PA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES BUDGET
Harrisburg, PA — The Level Up Coalition issued the following statement in response to the budget passed recently by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives: “The Pennsylvania House of Representatives shows it's tuned into the needs of the Commonwealth's poorest school districts by including an additional $225 million for Level Up in the PA Budget. READ MORE
LEVEL UP FUNDING LEFT OUT IN INAUGURAL SHAPIRO BUDGET PROPOSAL
Funding for Poorest School Districts was Closing Equity Gap, Enjoyed Bipartisan Support
Harrisburg, PA — Level Up, a coalition of more than a dozen education advocacy organizations from across the commonwealth, issued the following statement following Governor Josh Shapiro's first Pennsylvania budget address. The Level Up funding, which targets closing the equity gap between the state’s 100 poorest school districts and their wealthier neighbors was conspicuously removed from the 2023–24 proposed Executive Budget. READ MORE
GOVERNOR TOM WOLF CELEBRATES HISTORIC LEVEL UP FUNDING IN PA BUDGET
Wolf, Local Leaders Mark 2022-23 Education Funding Increase
Erie, PA — Level Up supporters joined Governor Tom Wolf at Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy in Erie today to celebrate the $225 million Level Up funding supplement increase as part of the 2022–23 budget agreement. Level Up funding helps move the state’s 100 school districts that have the greatest student need and the fewest resources further along the long road toward adequate funding. Level Up school districts in Erie County include Erie’s Public Schools, Northwestern, and Girard School Districts. READ MORE
LEVEL UP COALITION APPLAUDS SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS, SCHOOLS IN PA BUDGET
$225 Million Level Up Supplement is Consequential Step in the Right Direction
HARRISBURG — As part of the 2022–23 budget agreement, lawmakers included a $225 million equity supplement for the state’s 100 school districts that have the greatest student need and the fewest resources. The measure is based on the Level Up coalition’s 2021 proposal supported by superintendents across the state, which Governor Wolf included in his Executive Budget Proposal and was the basis for HB 2414 and outlined in SB 1223 introduced by Representative Michael Schlossberg and Senator Tim Kearney.
Bipartisan Support Stacks Up Behind $300 Million Level Up Funding for PA’s 100 Most Underfunded School Districts
PA Rep. Schlossberg Introduces HB 2414, PA Senator Kearney Introduces SB 1223 to Take PA’s Most Under-Resourced Schools to the Next Level
HARRISBURG – Two pieces of legislation that would make a significant dent in Pennsylvania’s school funding gap show strong bipartisan support in Pennsylvania General Assembly. Level Up — first approved in the 2021-22 PA budget — would target funding to the 100 school districts that have the greatest student need and the fewest resources. Gov. Wolf’s budget proposal includes an increase to $300 million allocation for the program. READ MORE
Students, parents and educators of the Reading School District call for more school funding March 29, 2023 READ MORE
Education funding under the microscope during House hearings March 20, 2023 READ MORE
'The moment calls for more': PA school funding advocates say Josh Shapiro budget falls short of helping poorest districts March 9, 2023 READ MORE
Gov. Wolf speaks on historic increase in education funding, says there's more work to do Erie Times-News August 9, 2022 READ MORE
'Moral scandal': Gov. Wolf proposal, lawsuit aim to cut Pennsylvania school funding gap trib live April 17, 2021 READ MORE
Lawmaker’s ‘Level Up’ bill takes aim at Pa.’s education inequity in Lehigh Valley, elsewhere Lehigh Valley Live Apr 17, 2021 READ MORE
Level Up Coalition Launches Effort to Increase Funding for 100 Severely Underfunded PA School Districts My ChseCo April 16, 2021 READ MORE
Rep. Schlossberg calls for more money for schools, admits getting it could be tough 69 News WFMZ-TV Apr 16, 2021 READ MORE
Representative Schlossberg looks for more money for poorer schools WFMZ-TV Apr 16, 2021 READ MORE
Distressed schools across Pa. join together to push for $100 million relief WITF APRIL 16, 2021 READ MORE