The Reading School District's operating budget is $226.8 million, with 72 percent of the funding coming from the state, 16 percent coming from local sources, 9 percent coming from the federal government and 3 percent coming from other sources.
The lingering days of not having a fully funded formula is causing great anxiety and paranoia across the commonwealth from school districts not having enough funds to pay bills and make payroll, which could result in a shutdown in the near future.
More important, the impasse is impacting many children in the commonwealth, where it is common for school districts to adopt mission statements that inspire children to learn and inspire districts to embrace diversity, foster equity and prepare students for an ever-changing society.
As indicated in Reading School District's mission statement adopted in July 2014, "The mission of our public schools is to transform student potential into reality. In the collective, educators, the community and parents remain committed to our core purpose of educating all students."
The time is now for the citizens of Pennsylvania to unite and encourage the commonwealth to pass a budget in the near future that recognizes the children's civil rights to a free and appropriate education and provides adequate funding for underserved children from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
Reading School District has 17,060 students who represent 28 countries and speak 27 languages, with 80.7 percent Latino, 9.3 percent black, 6.9 percent white, 2.5 percent multiracial and 0.5 percent Asian.
As recognized in Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision, diversity and equal access to the educational system are phenomenal issues. The opportunity for all American citizens to become educated citizens has been deemed credible and a best practice that should be implemented in all schools, urban, suburban and rural.
America's educational system was built on the foundations of encouraging all people the pursuits of living the beauty of the American dream, including happiness, wealth, family and opportunity, through various successes such as academic, social and economics.
America is a culture of patriotism, worldly competitiveness, economic growth, power and perseverance. As a nation, the United States of America is a forerunner, encouraging many of the aforementioned traits through the pursuit of opportunity, equal access, and a moral obligation to uphold the expectations of the Pledge of Allegiance and encourage the universal beliefs of our country, influenced with an overriding theme of democracy.
As American philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey implied in his work, "Democracy and Education" in 1916, there is a direct correlation between democracy and education; thus, they shall coexist to form the foundations of education.
From this foundation, the United States educational system was derived, gained life, encouraged patriotism and provided a free and appropriate education for all children.
Adequate education funding is of paramount importance not only for the Reading School District but also for all of Berks County and the children throughout Pennsylvania.
Hence let's work collectively to support our elected officials in passing a full budget with adequate basic education funding to further prepare our children for success in an ever-changing society.