Local Advocacy Group Makes “Down Payment” to Teachers in Overdue State Funding
A education justice advocacy group made attended the Bristol Borough School Board meeting Thursday a message that school funding formulas have to change and presented a “down-payment” on the $4.6 billion gap in funding schools to teachers.
POWER Interfaith Bucks County says, Bristol Borough has been short changed more than $7.1 million in funding this year alone.
“Each child is losing over $5000.00 per year said Nancy Martin co-chair of the effort.
As Martin spoke, members of the advocacy group held signs saying “Fair Funding is Better”, and “Apple for the Teacher.”
The current funding system disadvantages students in small districts like Bristol and children of color throughout the state, the activists group says.
“Together with the Education Law Center and O’Melveny & Myers LLP, filed suit on behalf of six school districts, seven parents, the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS) and the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference against legislative leaders, state education officials, and the Governor. We are asking for a court order that will force the legislature to comply with the state constitution and ensure all students receive access to a high-quality public education, says the Public” Interest Law Center.
“I’m sure everyone here tonight knows how that additional funding would benefit the students” Martin said.
As a symbolic down payment on the $7,138,681 shortfall, POWER activists presented a box of classroom art supplies and gift cards for each classroom teacher to purchase additional supplies to Snyder-Girotti Elementary School Principal Kelli Rosado
Rosado, visibly touched by the gesture, with a slight quiver in her voice said, “thank you very much. This is obviously a small token of the work you are doing for our district and our students and of course I’ll always say the great job the teachers do. They are on the front lines and I’ll always support them as well as our school board. Thank you so much, it means more than you know”
We know our $1000.00 is just a band aid, and a band aid is what a teacher sometimes needs to just get through the day, Martin said in response.
Professionals should never be forced to take money out of their own pockets to purchase basic supplies, the advocacy group contends.
Next week POWER will be joining many other education based advocacy groups in a social media blitz from every county in the commonwealth with a picture of a poster that reads “fully fund our schools,”as part of getting its message across to state law makers.
Superintendent Thomas Shaffer noted that “these types of grassroots efforts are going to make a difference in the lives of our children.”
If this lawsuit goes through, it would change funding formulas for school districts, such as Bristol Borough Shaffer added .
“What you are doing is incredible,” said board member Tony Smith.
“Why are our kids getting less than everyone else, Rosado said after the meeting?
Governor Wolf has proposed a $1.9 billion increase in education funding for the fiscal year starting in July. POWER Interfaith celebrates this budget proposal as a significant step toward adequacy in education and a step toward reducing racial inequity. At the same time, POWER calls on the legislature to take this occasion to eliminate bias by fully implementing the state’s fair funding formula and to work toward full funding of public education in all corners of Pennsylvania, the group said.
“I graduated in 93. I sat in theses chairs and we know the importance education has” Rosado said with tears welling up in her eyes.
This effort matters, she said