The educational system in PA is incredibly complex but there are commonsense solutions that could be implemented in the near term. Property taxes in a PA school district represent roughly 68% of the total funding, this creates a system where your zip code reflects the budget of your school district. We cannot expect to alleviate poverty when we devalue education in low income areas.
There is bipartisan support to reform the use of property taxes as the major source of funds for public school districts. I will support this.
Equitable funding for schools is not the only answer to solving poverty, it is a first step. We need to address many underlying problems such as wealth inequality, mass incarceration and family dynamics, if we truly want to change how education works in PA.
PA spends more education dollars per pupil than many other countries, yet we have worse results. Throwing money at this problem is not a silver bullet. We need to have difficult conversations about poverty and its affects on our youth. If we are not willing to address wealth inequality, we will never solve our educational problems in PA.
We need to stop the proliferation of fly by night charters and make tough choices about redundant school districts and their assets.
What I can do as a senator:
Support the passing of a bill to alleviate a property tax majority funding source for school districts.
I also will support reducing the budget of the criminal justice system in our state and rerouting that money to education.
Work with teachers and principals to institute solutions addressing how to make education better and equip our students for the 21st century.
Support an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour; poverty directly correlates to educational attainment.
Legalize marijuana and use the tax revenue generated to fund low income schools.