CFEF: History of the campaign
The Campaign for Fair Education Funding was assembled in 2014 as a coalition of more than 50 groups with the common belief that the state must adequately and equitably fund our schools if every Pennsylvania student is to have an opportunity to succeed.
The organizations represent Pennsylvanians from every corner of the state: teachers, school administrators school board members and parents; representatives of charter schools and traditional public schools; urban and rural interests; the faith-based community; community organizations, and advocates for children.
Our mission is to ensure that the state fund education fairly, reliably and adequately. Every public school must have the resources necessary to enable every child to meet state academic standards, be prepared for post-secondary success, and become productive, knowledgeable, and engaged adults.
When the Campaign was created, the state had no formula for allocating state education dollars in a fair or objective way. That state was also falling behind in paying its fair share of educating children, leaving school districts to carry a heavier share.
Since it was formed, our Campaign has worked throughout the state to educate lawmakers, stakeholders, and the public about the need to increase the state’s investment in K-12 education and adopt a fairer way to distribute that funding, based on student and school district needs rather than political bargaining.
The Campaign has already had an impact. In 2016, Governor Wolf and the General Assembly enacted a fair education formula that was adopted by a bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission.
This formula aligned closely with one recommended by the Campaign, and includes student-based factors like:
- Number of children in the district who live in poverty
- Number of children enrolled in charter schools
- Number of children who are English language learners
It also accounts for district-based factors such as:
- Wealth of the district and its ability to raise local revenue
- The district’s current tax effort
- School district size and sparsity of its population, to account for the challenges of rural districts
The state also increased education funding through the new formula by $400 million over two years, which was significant first step toward adequately funding all schools.
But that is only a start. The Campaign continues to push for funding increases in each state budget to restore years of inadequate and inequitable funding.