Pottstown School District Superintendent Stephen Rodriguez spoke on the steps of our state capitol where he acknowledged the additional funding Pottstown students will receive from the state budget that was approved and signed by the governor. He along with other fair funding advocates sent a clear message that there is still much ground to be covered to ensure that all children have the educational opportunities needed for success and he will continue to advocate for full fair funding.
Good Morning. On behalf of the Pennsylvania League of Urban Schools, a caucus of PASA, and on behalf of the Pottstown School District, I would like to thank you, Rep. Mike Schlossberg, other esteemed members of our state legislature, Governor Tom Wolf, and the growing community of education advocates who helped to support this education funding.
Several months ago, when I was asked to speak on behalf of this proposed legislation, I said that Level Up legislation falls far short of a fully funded fair funding formula.
However, I also said that this funding may not be a touchdown, but it is a solid ‘first down’ because it addresses some of the inequity in our current funding structure. It is a solid ‘first down’ and ensures that students who need this funding most, get it first.
The way you get touchdowns and eventually win games is a series of first downs. SO WE CAN”T STOP HERE. Continual positive progress down the field of play wins the game for our students and our state.
Some of you may know that just last week dozens of advocates were arrested while protesting about this issue in the building behind me. Some of you may also know that on the steps where we stand, thousands of citizens have come to voice their support for their Hometown Schools and for our children. The people of our state are speaking up and taking action on this issue, SO WE CAN’T STOP HERE.
I am so appreciative to the Legislature and our Governor for using a bipartisan approach that spends education dollars more equitably…. where they are needed most.
For my own district, the 1.4 million dollars we will receive gets applied immediately to student programs and resources, and we are grateful. But my community has been loud and clear in reminding me that we have been underfunded by 11 million to 13 million dollars EVERY YEAR for years. Parents and Community leaders were quick to point out that while everyone wants a rainy day fund to fall back on, for students in districts like mine, it's been raining for a long time.
The ‘level up’ funding is a golden drop of sunshine through that rain but we must keep going. I look forward to brighter days ahead, and I know I speak on behalf of many educators and students everywhere when I say this is progress and a big step in the right direction!