Providing high-quality public education is one of the most important duties of our state and local government. When our state refuses to provide adequate funding for education everywhere, our communities feel the impact. Increased unemployment, crime, poverty, drug abuse, and other destructive, and expensive consequences can all be traced to a lack of high quality education.
I will be a champion for school funding and support investing in public education at the state level to guarantee high-quality public education that serves all Pennsylvania students. We need to build a skilled workforce that attracts employers and fosters economic growth while stopping skyrocketing property taxes here in our community.
According to a 2017 report by the Education Law Center, Pennsylvania ranks 46th in the nation when it comes to the state's share of public education funding. The same report goes on to estimate that Pennsylvania is between $3 billion and $4.5 billion short in adequately funding public education. This is unacceptable.
The education funding neglect creates a highly inequitable public school systems that falls short of providing a high quality education in low income communities. In higher income areas the burden to properly fund our schools is shifted to homeowners in the form of skyrocketing property taxes.
Beyond the cost to our children's future, this failure to appropriately invest in excellent public education represents a long term liability to our Commonwealth and its prospects for future economic growth. According to the Economic Policy Institute, "a high-quality education increases the earnings of individuals and the economic health of their communities. Education spending can have a direct, positive impact on the business climate and can improve the success of at-risk students, whose contributions to the economy are critical for achieving a high-value/high-wage economy in the 21st century. Such spending will have a greater chance of success if coupled with specific reforms, such as smaller class sizes, greater access to technology for at-risk students, support for teacher training and innovation, and improved accountability structures."
In addition, I support funding pre-K to get all of our children started on the right foot. Just as adequately funding public education for K-12 education creates a foundation for strong economic growth, enhancing our model to include universal prekindergarten is an investment that will give Pennsylvania's economy an edge in the years to come. A recent study by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth found that investing in universal pre-K would deliver $8.90 in benefits to society for every $1.00 spent by increasing employment and education for parents, strengthening long-term economic prospects for children, improving public health, and reducing crime. That is an 89% cost benefit!
I will be an advocate and champion for our children, our schools, taxpayers and work to make sure the state pays its fair share in creating a public education system of which we can all be proud. Increasing funding for public education in Pennsylvania is an investment, not just in our children, but in the collective future we share as residents of the Commonwealth. It is also the right decision to relieve the burden for those whose property taxes continue to escalate as our local school districts are forced to raise property taxes to balance the funding gap left by the state.