Testimony: Pennsylvania Works to Address Inequitable School Funding
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The amount of money allocated to each student and each school ranges widely and is largely determined by state funding policies. Disparities in school funding can shortchange children, with those in low-income and marginalized communities bearing the brunt of inequities. In his September 13 testimony to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, LPI Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst Michael Griffith shared insights with state lawmakers on school funding solutions that can foster equitable access to a high-quality education for all students.
The testimony was part of a hearing held to address the Pennsylvania’s funding policies, which were ruled unconstitutional by the state’s Commonwealth Court last February.
Griffith told the legislature’s Basic Education Funding Commission that increasing the state's share of school funding, especially through primary funding formulas tailored to student and district needs, is a key step. He emphasized that it is essential to ensure that state funding is directed toward districts and students in the most need.
A Philadelphia Inquirer story on the hearing reported on the day’s testimony as well, citing Griffith and students and counselors who told stories of the poor conditions they struggle with. One student noted that, “We don’t even have a library, or a cafeteria—two bare minimum things that kids need to get through the day.”