Pennsylvania currently ranks 46th in the country in state contributions to local school funding. The US average is around 47% while Bethlehem’s current state share of basic education is around 20% resulting in the BASD being underfunded by around $45 million dollars! The State’s failure to fully fund our local schools pushes this burden of funding onto homeowners in the form of driving school property taxes higher and higher.
This lack of funding also has a trickle-down effect on our school system, hurting students by denying them the resources they need to improve their academic performance. If the State paid its fair share of local school funding, that $45 million could help the BASD with such things as decreasing class sizes, updating materials and technology, and enhancing school safety, just to name a few.
PA Schools Work is leading a movement to convince PA Lawmakers to invest in education. With the 2019-2020 budget proposal right around the corner, they are urging for and endorsing a $510 million increase for: basic education ($400 million) special education ($100 million) and career & technical education ($10 million).
There are ways for you to get involved. The first step you can take is to visit www.paschoolswork.org and register to receive statewide updates. There is a vast amount of research on school funding stored on their website. They have provided us with an Advocacy Toolkit as well as their Advocacy Training Calendar if you’re looking to become more involved, these documents and their site will open the door for you. Assistance is also right here in the Valley, you can reach out to their local advocacy coordinator Sandra Miller who resides in Lower Saucon, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’d like to extend a heartfelt thanks to PA Schools Work for providing us with this information and giving us the opportunity to share with you. Visit their site and find a way to participate as we are working towards much of the same goals.
BASD Proud Parents is strictly pro-public education. We are an independent group with no affiliations to the BASD school board or any political parties. Our goals are to help parents stay informed about educational policy discussions and to facilitate ways for any of us who would like the chance to have our voices heard, to get more involved in those policy conversations.