Advocates propose bill to send $100M in extra funding to Pa’s 100 poorest school districts

This Week in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — There’s a new plan to get more money to Pennsylvania’s poorest schools.

A group of advocates is pushing to pass the ‘Level Up’ bill, which would give an extra $100 million to Pennsylvania’s poorest 100 school districts.

Rep. Mike Schlossberg (D-Lehigh) introduced the bill to state lawmakers.

“We are dead last in the nation in terms of the gap between our richest and our poorest students,” Schlossberg said.

Deborah Gordon Klehr is Executive Director of the Education Law Center, one of the organizations backing the plan.

“Asking the legislature to allocate dollars specifically to those 100 districts furthest from adequacy, who will not be able to raise the dollars on their own,” Klehr said.

Those 100 poorest districts include some in the Midstate like Harrisburg, York City, Lebanon and Lancaster. Robin Goodson, a board member of the School District of Lancaster says those districts serve some of the most vulnerable students.

“Underfunded districts serve a disproportionate share of the commonwealth’s students of color, living in poverty, students with disabilities, and English learners,” Goodson said.

She believes this bill would help bridge that gap.

“Where you live, the color of your skin, and how much your family has should not be a reason for you not to receive a high-quality education,” Goodson said.

The price tag might be high, but these advocates believe the stakes for students are higher.

“The truth is that money matters, that funding matters, that how we invest in our kids matters. For education to truly be the great equalizer we have to fund it equally, and that’s what this level up plan will do,” Schlossberg said.

To see a list of all 100 of the school districts that the bill would give extra money, click here.

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