Home > Uncategorized > Former State Lawmaker to Lead School Funding Coalition

August 18, 2014

A former state lawmaker with a reputation for consensus-building will manage a newly formed, non-partisan campaign to address one of Pennsylvania’s most important and challenging issues: the funding of its public schools.

Kathy Manderino will head up a new school funding coalition made up of more than 40 organizations, including Allies for Children. The organizations represent education, business, labor, civic, child advocacy and faith-based groups who want to see the commonwealth find a long-term solution to adequately and equitably fund public schools.

Manderino takes the lead just days before the Basic Education Funding Commission meets on Wednesday, August 20. The commission, co-chaired by Representative Mike Vereb, R-Montgomery, and Senator Pat Browne, R-Lehigh County, has until June 10, 2015 to create a fair formula for basic education dollars distributed to the state’s 500 school districts and charter schools.

School funding is, without question, one of the toughest issues facing Pennsylvania, but it’s also arguably the most important. So many facets of our commonwealth—jobs, culture, community, quality of life—are dependent upon and shaped by the education we provide for our children. How we fund that education really does dictate the future of Pennsylvania, and I’m excited to help advance such a critical discussion. ~Kathy Manderino

While the campaign plans to formally launch this fall, the coalition behind the effort already has begun examining the issues that impact school funding and formed a governing body chaired by Joan Benso, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, a statewide children’s advocacy organization.

While there has been plenty of discussion over the years about how Pennsylvania funds its public schools, there hasn’t been enough consensus among the many groups that have a vested interest in our kids and schools. This campaign will be unprecedented in the various voices it listens to and represents, and it’s vital that we have a dynamic, strategic thinker managing the effort. That’s why we brought Kathy on board. ~Joan Benso

David W. Patti, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Business Council and a member of the coalition’s executive committee, said Manderino’s background makes her well suited to help find common ground on a complex issue.

We needed someone who understands the commonwealth’s diversity, Pennsylvania politics and the legislative culture. Kathy Manderino couldn’t be more ideal: 18 really stellar years in the General Assembly garnering respect that lasts to this day from both sides of the aisle; and a life spent in Monessen and Philadelphia – vastly different, but incredibly important economies and cultures. ~Dave Patti

A Westmoreland County native, Manderino earned a bachelor’s degree in public service from Penn State University and a law degree from Temple University. Following her tenure as a state lawmaker, she served as senior vice president for Intercommunity Action, Inc., a community-based organization providing services and housing to people with intellectual disabilities and behavioral health needs, and to older adults.

In the weeks ahead, the campaign will announce its official name and launch a website and related media tools to engage and inform Pennsylvanians on this important issue.

EDITORS NOTE: A full list of organizations that have signed on to the campaign is below.

Organizations in newly formed school funding campaign (listed alphabetically)

A+ Schools

Action United


Allies for Children

American Federation of Teachers-PA (AFT-PA)

Building One PA

Congregations United for Neighborhood Action (CUNA)


Education Law Center

Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley

Education Policy and Leadership Center

Education Voters-PA

Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce

Keystone State Education Coalition

Lutheran Advocacy Ministries


PA Ass’n of Elementary & Secondary School Principals (PAESSP)

PA Ass’n of School Business Officials (PASBO)

PA Ass’n of School Administrators (PASA)

PA Ass’n of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS)

PA Ass’n of Intermediate Units (PAIU)

PA Budget and Policy Center

PA Business Council

PA Chamber of Business and Industry

PA Coalition of Public Charter Schools

PA Council of Churches

PA Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC)

PA Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN)

PA League of Urban Schools (PLUS)

PA Municipal League

PA Partnerships for Children


PA School Boards Ass’n (PSBA)

PA State Education Association (PSEA)


Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT)

PA School Librarians Association

Philadelphia AFL-CIO

Philadelphia School Partnership

POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild)

Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY)

Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP)

Research for Action

Urban League of Philadelphia



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