ELC Supports Governor’s Proposal to Restore School Funding Cuts
March 4, 2015 – The Education Law Center supports Governor Wolf’s proposal to restore $400 million in state funding to local school districts. The proposal directs critical resources to schools unable to meet the needs of students.
“Many of these school districts have struggled to fill the gaps left by reduced state funding,” said ELC interim Executive Director Deborah Gordon Klehr. “They simply can’t provide an adequate education to students — especially the most vulnerable students. The Governor deserves credit for taking this important first step.”
In doing so, Governor Wolf acknowledges the devastating impact of prior budget cuts that ELC has shined a light on through its advocacy — the elimination of teachers, counselors, nurses, and school librarians, the fact that 75 percent of school districts have been forced to cut academic programs, and 70 percent of districts have increased class sizes.
Reversing those cuts and setting schools and students on a path to success is going to require significant, long-term effort, including establishing a funding formula for education that is predictable, reliable and addresses the needs of all students.
“We’re encouraged by the Governor’s recognition of the need for a funding formula to distribute education dollars more equitably, one that takes into account district size, poverty levels, and student makeup,” said Klehr.
“We are also pleased that the Governor has proposed much needed support for students with disabilities,” said Klehr. The proposed funding would be driven out through a new student-focused special education funding formula that was adopted last year.
ELC also supports the Governor’s proposal to expand access to early education, said Klehr.
The legislature will now review the Governor’s proposal and develop its own budget proposal.
“We’re hopeful that in the upcoming negotiations between the Governor and the legislature, a system will be created and supported so that students receive the basic supports and resources they need to meet state academic standards,” said Klehr. “But our students need more than hope. They need, and deserve, a guarantee that they will have those basic supports and resources in their schools.”
That’s why the Education Law Center, along with its partners, the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and O’Melveny and Myers, will be in court on March 11 continuing to move forward with its school funding lawsuit.
“We need a long-term solution,” said Klehr. “One that lives up to our constitutional mandate to support and maintain a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.”
The Education Law Center is a nonprofit legal advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all of Pennsylvania’s children have access to a quality public education.
CONTACT: Brett Schaeffer, Education Law Center, 215-238-6970 ext. 334