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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Time for Fair and Meaningful Ed Funding Reform - March 2013 ACTION ALERT

State budget negotiations are heating up and state legislators need to hear from us!  Since you’ve been following the issues, you know where we are: nearly $1 billion in cuts to education (in each of the last 2 years), increased class sizes, programs and positions have been cut.

Pennsylvania’s way of funding schools is badly flawed, causing and compounding problems and creating unfairness to children, communities and taxpayers.  Quite simply, it is inadequate and unfair.  Pennsylvania must adopt and implement a schedule to provide adequate financial support and allocate that funding through formulas.

Tell your representatives in Harrisburg that it is time to fix this.  We can’t go on kicking the can down the road - our students can’t wait any longer.

It is time for the legislature to renew its work on the permanent adoption of a sensible approach to funding our public schools: one which takes academic expectations, the costs of programs and services, the individual learning needs of students, and community financial health into account.  A funding formula must be predictable, accurate (use updated data) and provide accountability and transparency mechanisms; it must address issues of equity and the fact that Pennsylvania has a variety of communities in both size and type. 

For the 2013-14 budget year, we are calling on the state legislature to:

- Reinstate $270 million in funding to K-12 education in this year’s budget (and for the next 2 years - to restore the nearly $1 billion in state funding level cuts over a three year timetable).

- Put in place funding formulas that have a strategy for allocating dollars, working toward a permanent, rational funding formula. Formulas must account for the number of students, include “weights” for the additional costs for educating students with special needs (including students in poverty, gifted students and English language learners), and provide sustainable and predictable funding for districts.

- Begin to address formula and funding mechanism flaws in the way that charter schools are funded (a good formula will set rates appropriately and not pit groups of children against each other);

- They must also provide cost of living increases for special education (which has been flat funded for 6 straight years) and career-technical education;

- Develop a comprehensive plan to guarantee that the students in financially distressed districts have the resources necessary to meet the state’s academic standards.

Today we are asking you to do 3 quick things:

1.  CLICK HERE to email your legislators today and ask them to support these measures.

2.  Mark your calendar for the next Call to Action Day on Wednesday April 10th - where thousands of
Pennsylvanians will take 10 minutes to call their State Senators and House members.

3.  Identify just 2 other people (or more) that you can ask to join you in making a call - another parent from school, a cousin who has kids, your parents or neighbors who know how important schools are to communities.  CLICK HERE to forward this email or download a flyer HERE.