The General Assembly has a constitutional mandate to provide a “thorough and efficient system of public education” for the children of Pennsylvania. This requires a fair funding system, with taxes and fees imposed equitably on individuals and industry.
But education funding in Pennsylvania is so inequitable, it has been called the worst in the nation, and is the subject of a groundbreaking lawsuit that includes the William Penn School District in Delaware County as a plaintiff.
Pennsylvania has the widest gap in funding between poor and wealthy school districts, and ranks 47th in total state education funding. Meanwhile, school districts and townships are forced to make up for inadequate funding year after year, raising taxes and fees on homeowners instead of making corporate special interests such as the gas industry pay their fair share.
To address the inadequate and unfair funding of our public schools, we must reform the Fair Funding Formula. All money for school funding should pass through the Fair Funding Formula, rather than the current system where only new funding is evaluated that way. Additionally, we must enact an extraction tax on Marcellus Shale drillers and distribute it equitably to our schools. This would raise up to $800 million toward funding for public education.
All parents in Pennsylvania should feel confident that their children will receive an education that unlocks their full potential.