Education Funding

Pennsylvania's school funding system is broken. PA is one of only three states that does not use a formula to allocate state funding to school districts and has the dubious distinction of having the most inequitable school funding system in the nation. Because of our state's heavy reliance on property taxes to fund education, schools that educate the poorest students receive one third fewer state and local tax dollars than the most affluent districts. This is simply wrong.

It is time for our state government to step up and fix its broken school funding system. State lawmakers MUST implement the funding formula recommended by the bi-partisan Basic Education Funding Commission and commit to providing long-term, sustainable funding increases to schools so that all children in Pennsylvania have an opportunity to learn.

CFEF logo

Education Voters is a founding member of the Campaign for Fair Education Funding, a coalition of more than 50 statewide organizations whose goal is to ensure that every student has access to a quality education no matter where they live.

Click HERE for a fact sheet about PA School Funding Facts.

Money Matters when it comes to education

For a PDF version of our whole brief: Money Matters

Money impacts class size which matters, especially in the early grades. Giving teachers smaller “caseloads” means more individual attention for students, more tailored lesson plans, more specific feedback to students, and more in-depth learning. Art and music are supported by research, as well as extended learning time.

The biggest potential for change lies in how well we develop school leadership. We need to recruit excellent teachers and principals, respect them as professionals and provide good compensation packages. Training staff, analyzing data, goal setting, follow up, planning, giving people feedback and quality evaluations –all these beneficial things take time. We need to provide school staff with this time – which means adequate staffing levels, staff support for principals, and planning time for teachers. All of these things have a cost associated with them.

Developing a Sensible Approach to Funding Our Schools

For a PDF version of our brief: Developing a Sensible Approach to Funding our Schools

The fundamental key to school funding is student learning: enough resources and fairness, which means providing every child a chance to learn and meet state standards. The key to fixing school funding is having a rational way to drive out funding and fixing what is inequitable now. We are very glad both aspects of this were acknowledged by the Commission members in the release of the report.

Pennsylvania must move toward a rational, sustainable funding structure.  This will eliminate the use (or misuse) of power and political struggles; be fair to communities large and small and most importantly, give every student an opportunity to learn. 

For more information, please read our policy briefs below:

  • $100M in Waste and Inefficiency & Segregation by Disability: It’s Time to #FixSpecialEdFunding - As Pennsylvanians rally to stop Betsy DeVos from becoming Secretary of Education (and Senator Pat Toomey tries his hardest to ignore us), we are working with a coalition of parents, disability rights advocates, faith leaders, and advocacy groups to build public pressure on our state lawmakers to fix an egregious flaw in PA charter law that mandates more than $100 million […]
  • A budget impasse, the public weighs in, PSSA results, and a really important election this year - A budget impasse, the public weighs in, PSSA results, and a really important election this year The budget is still not done, so schools are still not funded – the impasse continues; the Auditor General weighs in and the public has some opinions about it too. New PSSA test results are in – but what […]
  • A budget that puts students last - President Trump’s recently proposed budget slashes $9 billion, or 14%, from the Department of Education, while increasing funding for “school choice,” by $1.4 billion.  It comes as no surprise that Trump’s proposed cuts fall hardest on programs that benefit low-income students. Nothing in this budget is set in stone. In in order for a federal […]
  • A New Era in Philadelphia - Congratulations to our new Mayor-elect, Jim Kenney, who ran on a great platform of supporting public, community schools, PreK and supporting principals and teachers! We congratulate all the new members of City Council, including our endorsed candidates Helen Gym, Derek Green and Blondell Reynolds-Brown! “Education voters” turned out in force, helping to make sure education was a […]
  • A stunning priority in the PA House budget - Advancing the Betsy DeVos school privatization agenda has emerged as a top budget priority for PA House members, even though this will provide very little or no benefit to the communities many rural lawmakers represent. On a near party-line vote of 114-84, the PA House approved a budget proposal that retains the very modest $100 million increase in Basic […]