Home Bensalem Times Local faith leaders, education advocates call for fair education funding

Local faith leaders, education advocates call for fair education funding

There is currently a wide gap in school funding, with some districts receiving almost double per student

Rev. Bill Bloom (center),of United Christian Church of Levittown, addressed a gathering of education advocates to urge fair distribution of state education funding in Bucks County and across Pennsylvania. Also lending her voice was Toby Kahn, of Bensalem, a member of the POWER Interfaith Education Justice team (first person on left).

Rev. Bill Bloom, of United Christian Church of Levittown, recently addressed a group of local faith leaders and education advocates gathered at the Courthouse in Doylestown. They called on the Pennsylvania legislature to enact fair distribution of state education funding in Bucks County and across the state. In Bucks County, school funding ranges from $30,144 per student in the New Hope-Solebury school district to $14,613 per student in Bristol Borough.

Bloom, music minister of the United Christian Church, led the group in song and called attention to, “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way,” from the song “The Greatest Love of All” by Linda Creed.

Educator Janie Bader, of Yardley, declared that the quality of a child’s education should not be dependent on the zip code where they live. Rabbi Charles Briskin, of Congregation Shir Ami in Newtown, quoted the Talmud, “The world is maintained by virtue of the breath coming from the mouths of schoolchildren.”

In Pennsylvania, 86 percent of school children are in underfunded districts based on the state’s own funding formula. Rev. Angela Brown-Vann of POWER Interfaith urged families whose children are in well-funded schools to fight for that same quality of education for all the children of Bucks County.

This demonstration was in support of the current case in Commonwealth Court charging that the General Assembly is in violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution’s requirement that the General Assembly “provide a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the commonwealth.”

POWER Interfaith supports the plaintiffs in the lawsuit (William Penn SD, NAACP PA, et al. v. Pa. Dept. of Education et al.) trial, which began in the Commonwealth Court on Nov. 12 and is expected to continue for several weeks. POWER leaders demand that the Assembly and Gov. Tom Wolf enact 100 percent fair funding now.

POWER Interfaith is a statewide racial and economic justice advocacy group, focused on increasing the civic power of people of faith and the most vulnerable across the state of Pennsylvania.

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