Fair Funding in PA Public Schools
ACLAMO is an endorsing organization of the PA Schools Work Campaign.
The campaign is a coalition of organizations from across Pennsylvania representing teachers and other educators, parents and other community members working together to advocate for PA public schools, their students, and the communities they serve. As an endorsing organization, ACLAMO supports the messaging and goals of the campaign, takes action in monthly meetings, and participates and co-hosts rallies, panels, and discussions to help eliminate funding disparities across school districts. Inadequate funding particularly affects people living in poverty, English language learners and/or those with other needs. The PA Schools Work solution assures that all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, ability, family income or the community where they live, will have equal opportunity for success.
What we have done:
On January 12th ACLAMO started the year with a virtual press conference with PA Schools Work, a coalition advocating for equitable funding in Pennsylvania public schools. The day before, the Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC) published its final report regarding funding and educational inequality in Pennsylvania. On February 7th, 2023, Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court had ruled that our school funding system is unconstitutional due to its severe inequality and must be reformed. The BEFC was formed as a bipartisan body to investigate the issue and provide a report with recommendations how to address the Court’s ruling.
The Commission responded to the Commonwealth Court’s school funding ruling, recommending improvements to how funding is distributed through the Fair Funding Formula, but also identifying how much each district needs for the state to meet its constitutional obligation that every student receives a ‘meaningful opportunity to succeed academically, socially, and civically.’
The education of each child is a vital investment, and each one, regardless of background, has a future filled with potential. On this, Pennsylvanians are in universal agreement. A zip code should never determine a child’s future and Pennsylvanians should not face the difficult decision of choosing between the future of their children and where they can afford to live. Lastly, the BEFC’s report provides clarity and lays before us a path to invest in our children, support our educators, and be a Commonwealth that genuinely supports the common good for all. This report is more than a document; it’s a commitment to bridging the gaps that have hindered our education system for generations.
At the press conference, we commended the work of the Commission, our legislators and the leadership of Governor Shapiro. The BEFC took a significant step forward for students in communities across the Commonwealth, providing a roadmap to repairing the state’s broken and unconstitutional public school funding system.
As part of PA Schools Work, ACLAMO actively supports campaign goals, engages in monthly meetings, and collaborates on events to eliminate funding disparities across districts. The focus is on addressing the impact of inadequate funding on marginalized groups, ensuring equal opportunities for success regardless of socio-economic factors.
This is a historic moment, an opportunity for Pennsylvanians to stand together and create real change. The path ahead holds the potential to create a fair, just, and equitable education system for all. Let’s seize this opportunity for the sake of our children, our future, and the Commonwealth we envision.
The work is not done. The next step is a Pennsylvania budget that follows the BEFC Final Report and the Commonwealth Court’s order. We invite you to join us in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg at 12 noon on February 7th for an event with our partners from the PA Schools Work coalition to call on Governor Shapiro and state lawmakers to make the right to a quality education that is guaranteed in the Pennsylvania Constitution a reality for students in every district in the commonwealth.
Check out our YouTube channel to see updates on the positive impacts we’ve done in the community!
Pennsylvania's School Funding Lawsuit - November 12, 2021
William Penn School District et al. v. Pennsylvania Department of Education et al.
In 2014, six Pennsylvania school districts, the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools, the NAACP-PA State Conference, and a group of public school parents filed suit in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court against state legislative leaders, state education officials, and the governor for failing to uphold the General Assembly’s constitutional obligation to provide a “thorough and efficient” system of public education. The districts—William Penn, Greater Johnstown, Lancaster, Panther Valley, Shenandoah Valley, and Wilkes-Barre Area—and other petitioners are represented by the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania, the Public Interest Law Center and O’Melveny. Students are on track to have their day in court in November 2021. A trial will take place in Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg starting November 12.