The choice for is clear for educating our children, we need to go big

If my choice for students is to go big or go home, I’m going big.

As a member of the Basic Education Funding Commission, I joined with a majority of my colleagues in approving a roadmap that would dramatically change the way that we educate the children in Pennsylvania.

Without getting into the very detailed aspects of this report (you can read it at ) our plan focused on four basic values:

  • Accountability for taxpayers and families.
  • Adequacy for all students in all schools.
  • Equity for those students living in underfunded districts – especially our smaller cities with older housing stock, lots of untaxed government & church property.
  • Stability and predictability for our school districts when it comes to state funding.

After months of testimony from students, families, teachers, superintendents, business managers and education experts we created this roadmap to new, significant investments that will deliver better educational outcomes for all our kids, regardless of where they live.

Before the predictable crowing comes from the usual naysayers (you know, the special interest funded groups who want nothing more than to turn our kids’ education into a for-profit scheme), please know we are not seeking more money for our schools just for the sake of getting more money. What we are doing is fulfilling the obligation in the Pennsylvania Constitution for all children to receive a quality education.

  • We are proposing new investments be made for those kids living in underfunded districts or districts that are growing so fast that they cannot keep up with demand.
  • We are insisting additional dollars be used on scientifically proven strategies we know will improve the educational outcomes of our kids.
  • We are investing in new and updated school buildings so the costs of new buildings are *not* entirely paid for by local property taxes.
  • We are taking the politics out of school funding with a predictable revenue stream for all districts. 
  • We are cutting property taxes by a billion dollars with the biggest share of the cuts going to the districts with the biggest burden on homeowners. 

These are logical choices tied to a major increase in investment in our kids.  If these districts want this additional money, they’ll do the things we know will work for the children they educate the taxpayers footing the local bills.

Governor Shapiro and his administration were integral in the passage of this roadmap and were true partners in ensuring that we had a good product.

And true to his word, Governor Shapiro in his budget address said its time to go big or go home.  Or maybe he said that when it comes to educating our children, it’s time to get stuff done.

Pennsylvania is better than it used to be. We’ve created family sustaining jobs. We’ve made health care more affordable and accessible. We’ve partnered with the Biden Administration to pave more roads and fix more bridges and create even more jobs you can’t outsource.

That’s good, but it’s not good enough – especially when it comes to our kids. The time has come for our state legislature to embrace big changes that will have a dramatic and generational impact for people across our commonwealth.

Once again, I’m throwing it out there that I am ready to do the hard work and take the political risks. Governor Shapiro in his budget address has said the same. The PA House of Representatives is ready to get this done. I challenge the Republican Majority in the PA State Senate to look forward with us, to help every kid, to help property tax payers, to build a better future for everyone. Let’s go big.