Submitted by Cheryl Parsons
I fervently believe in the importance of our public school system. I benefited greatly from my public education and subsequently taught with dedicated teachers and staff in the Carlisle Area School District for 35 years. However, our current system of funding public education with its huge dependence on local property taxes over state supplied funds fails to serve the state’s children fairly and has recently been ruled unconstitutional.
The Pennsylvania Constitution requires that
1. Every student receive a meaningful opportunity to succeed academically, socially, and civically, which requires that all students have access to a comprehensive, effective, and contemporary system of public education.
2. Schools have an obligation to provide a system of public education that does not discriminate against students based on the level of income and value of taxable property in their school districts,
The State’s share of funding for public schools has steadily decreased since the 1970’s, consequently local property taxes keep increasing to fill the gap. Despite this, all Pennsylvania schools are significantly underfunded whether urban, rural, or suburban. Districts with low property values are hardest hit.
Using the State’s own formula for calculating the resources needed to reach state academic standards, set by law in 2008:
• 86% of PA students attend schools that don’t receive adequate resources.
• Students in poor districts receive $4,800 less per student than those in wealthy districts.
• 50% of Black students and 40% of Latino students live in districts in the bottom 20% of local wealth.
It’s time to reformulate our broken funding system, require our legislators to honor Constitutional obligations, and provide all PA students and their schools adequate resources for today’s world. Governor Shapiro’s budget proposal only includes cost of living and inflation adjustments but does nothing to address the recent ruling. Our governor and our legislators need to hear from us. Let’s speak up for our children and their future!