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Coalition of Labor, Faith Groups, and Education Advocates Urge House Leadership to Act on Court Public Education Funding Ruling


Contact: Dionne Watts-Williams, POWER Interfaith

PHILADELPHIA, PA – May 7, 2024 – POWER Interfaith and more than a dozen labor and community partners are intensifying its call on PA House leadership to make public education their highest priority by passing legislation this year that enacts a full plan to adequately fund every school district in the Commonwealth, starting with eliminating the Commonwealth’s $5.1 billion adequacy gap. 

In a joint letter the groups expressed their support for the Governor’s proposed $1.6 billion funding allocation as a crucial first step. The letter emphasized the importance of implementing a permanent solution through the enactment of a predictable schedule of funding increases. The full letter can be accessed here.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry T. Jordan emphasized, "The time is now to once and for all address the decades-long underfunding of our schools. Our students need, deserve, and are constitutionally and morally entitled to a thorough and efficient system of public education. With the funding case now decided with finality, and the Basic Education Funding Commission having completed its review, the legislature must enact a multi-year plan this year that meets the moment.”

Rev. Michael Caine, Board Co-Chair of POWER Interfaith, stated, "It’s time for the legislature to act. Educational deficits accrue and multiply; each year is precious in the education of every child. The court declared the failure of the school funding system. The BEFC report provides a roadmap, and lawmakers must deliver a public education system that works for all Pennsylvanians."

“We shouldn’t even think about sending taxpayer money to private and religious schools when our focus should be on fixing Pennsylvania’s unconstitutional public school funding system,” PSEA President Aaron Chapin said. “If we really want to ensure every student in Pennsylvania has access to a high-quality education regardless of zip code or socioeconomic status, we must equitably fund the public schools that serve those students. That is the solution we should be talking about.”


In Pennsylvania, a student’s zip code determines the resources available to their school district, resulting in extreme disparities. Pennsylvania ranks 44th in the nation on school funding progressiveness, has the fourth largest Black/White adequate funding gap, and the third largest Hispanic/White adequate funding gap.

A 2023 Commonwealth Court ruling deemed PA’s school funding system as unconstitutional, as it discriminates against low-wealth districts. The Judge Jubelirer left it up to Governor Shapiro and the General Assembly to resolve. Pennsylvania’s Basic Education Funding Commission reconvened in 2023 to discuss the adequacy gap, of which approximately 387 school districts currently have. Both the Commission, with representation from the House, Senate, and the Governor’s office, passed a report that laid out a plan to bring every district up to adequacy over a 7-year period, starting with a $871 million adequacy payment this year, with an annual payment increase until every district has an adequate amount by year 7.


POWER Interfaith is a non-partisan faith-based network of 200 congregations across Southeastern and Central Pennsylvania, a statewide organizing force for economic and racial justice on a livable planet. More about POWER Interfaith at

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