ELC Statement on the Final Passage of the 16-17 State Budget Bill
July 1, 2016
Deborah Gordon Klehr, Executive Director of the Education Law Center, issued the following statement on the final passage of the 16-17 state budget bill.
“While we are pleased that the General Assembly has approved an additional $200 million in funding for basic education, $20 million in special education, and $25 million in early education, this increased appropriation still falls far short of what our children need and what Governor Wolf originally requested. And while we applaud the state for utilizing a new bipartisan funding formula to distribute the basic education dollars more fairly, this formula is only as good as the money that funds it. This year’s amount is insufficient to close the massive adequacy gaps that exist.
This agreement will allow school districts to plug budget holes in the short term, but it will also prevent schools from making important investments to improve student performance. At the same time, this budget locks in long-term structural inequities that leave many of Pennsylvania’s schoolchildren behind.
Even as we call on the Governor and the General Assembly to continue to work together to bring needed resources back into our schools, we know that tens of thousands of Pennsylvania children can no longer wait for the long-term, sustained investments in education they need to succeed. That is why we plan to continue vigorously pursuing Pennsylvania’s fair funding lawsuit before the state Supreme Court in September to ensure that the Commonwealth meets its constitutional requirement to provide a “thorough and efficient” public school system that serves all children regardless of their ZIP code.”
The Education Law Center-PA (“ELC”) is a non-profit, legal advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all children in Pennsylvania have access to a quality public education. Through legal representation, impact litigation, trainings, and policy advocacy, ELC advances the rights of vulnerable children, including children living in poverty, children of color, children in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, children with disabilities, English language learners, and children experiencing homelessness.
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