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Senador Vincent Hughes

January 15, 2024 − Senators Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) and Nick Miller (D-Lehigh/Northampton), two Senate members of the Basic Education Funding Commission, issued a statement following the release and affirmative vote on the Commission’s report that offers eight recommendations to fix Pennsylvania’s unconstitutional education system.

The two Senators also issued a letter for the record to stress their position on the Commission’s report and next steps that are needed to fully address Judge Jubelirer’s ruling on the Commonwealth’s education funding system.

“The report adopted by the Basic Education Funding Commission outlines important steps the legislature needs to take to finally fix Pennsylvania’s broken and unconstitutional education funding system. But we must remember, this report is just a start.

We participated in thirteen public hearings across the state to hear directly from educators, administrators, researchers, and students about what schools need to provide the best quality education, environment, and support services for students. The eight recommendations detailed in the adopted report address the testimony we received and will put Pennsylvania on the path to delivering for all public school students, not just those from wealthy districts.

If we follow through on these recommendations, Pennsylvania will provide adequate funding for all students, something that the Commonwealth has failed to do for decades. We will address aging and crumbling school buildings. We will build up our teacher pipeline with certified and diverse teachers. We will ensure all public schools are teaching kids to read by grade level, and providing mental health support to fully help students thrive and develop their minds.

But to do these things well and into the long-term, we must make the full and necessary investments, now and in the future, to get them done. The General Assembly and the Governor must make good on these recommendations by prioritizing them in our budgets.

This report is a floor, not a ceiling, for what could and should be done to fix Pennsylvania schools and the way we currently approach education funding. With $7 billion in surplus and over $5 billion in the rainy day fund, it would be irresponsible and unconscionable not to act.”