Governor Wolf Visits Elementary School, Urges General Assembly to Equitably Fund Education Through Level Up Initiative
Harrisburg, PA (STL.News) Governor Tom Wolf was joined by elementary school students, legislators and education stakeholders at James Logan School in Philadelphia to highlight the Level Up school funding initiative and his ongoing commitment to ensuring Pennsylvania continues to invest equitably in education.
“Our historic investments in education throughout my administration are ensuring a better future for our children and a stronger Pennsylvania, and we must continue to do so equitably. Through sound fiscal management, we have been able to make meaningful investments in education and this work must continue,” Gov. Wolf said. “Through these ongoing efforts, we are setting up a Pennsylvania where all students receive a top-tier education, where local taxpayers aren’t shouldering the bulk of the responsibility for funding schools, and where all Pennsylvanians have an opportunity to succeed.”
Level Up, first funded in last year’s budget, provided a $100 million equity supplement to the state’s 100 most underfunded school districts. The governor’s current budget proposal calls for $300 million to ensure that children receive an equitable education regardless of the financial resources available in their community.
State Rep. Darisha Parker joined the Gov. Wolf at James Logan School to talk about the importance of Level Up in ensuring education equity.
“Every Pennsylvania student deserves access to a quality education that puts them on a path to success regardless of zip code,” said Rep. Parker. “This is an ongoing fight for fair education funding for the school districts that need it the most. Philadelphia has been terribly underfunded for too long. Governor, thank you for your foresight and your support of this funding. Thank you for helping us help our teachers be equipped in the classroom to help our students be successful, thriving individuals.”
Also joining the governor were James Logan Elementary School Principal Dr. Matthew Grill, Executive Director of Children First and Level Up Coalition partner Donna Cooper, and Sen. Art Haywood.
“Every student in Pennsylvania deserves access to world-class education, including here at James Logan Elementary School,” said Principal Grill. “We are grateful for the unprecedented increase to education funding the governor has led during his tenure and encourage the General Assembly to continue to prioritize our children and their futures by further increasing the Level Up funding.”
“Pennsylvanians know that the state coffers are flush with cash and every state lawmaker knows that the education is the top priority of Pennsylvania citizens,” said Cooper. “That’s why we are optimistic that again this year state lawmakers will get on board and support the governor’s ambitious education proposal, which includes the Level Up Supplement – these dedicated state funds don’t solve the adequacy funding gap, but they recognize the need to invest in the state’s poorest school districts now.”
“Thank you to Governor Wolf for helping the School District of Philadelphia to secure over $3 million in Level Up funding last year,” Senator Haywood said. “Thanks to this investment, students at the James Logan Elementary School and across the city are achieving against the odds, but there is still work to be done. The governor’s proposed increase in Level Up funding will further support our children and their futures.”
The governor’s final budget calls for building on the momentum of previous years with a generational investment of $1.9 billion in education from pre-k through college, including:
- $70 million for Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental Assistance.
- $1.25 billion in basic education funding, bringing the total going through the Fair Funding Formula to more than
- $2 billion, or 26.5 percent of state funding.
- $300 million increase for Level Up.
- $200 million increase for Special Education.
- $125 million for higher education institutions.
During the past seven years, through sound fiscal management, Governor Wolf has secured an additional $1.8 billion in funding for pre-K through college, including more than $1.1 billion for basic education, $190 million for special education, and $40 million for career and technical education.
The 2022-23 budget builds on these successful education and workforce development programs, further extending high-quality education to more Pennsylvanians; and laying a strong foundation for Pennsylvania’s future workers, citizens, and leaders.