School funding lawsuit headed to the Pa. Supreme Court
May 21, 2015 – Solomon Leach, Philadelphia Daily News – A LAWSUIT ACCUSING the state of failing to adequately and equitably fund education is headed to the state Supreme Court.
The plaintiffs, which include six school districts and two statewide organizations, filed an appeal yesterday challenging a Commonwealth Court decision last month to dismiss the suit, claiming that school funding is a function of the Legislature, and therefore not a matter for the courts.
“Our Supreme Court bears the responsibility for ensuring that our most precious constitutional rights are protected. We hope that the high court will agree that this responsibility includes public education, the most important issue facing our commonwealth,” Jennifer Clarke, executive director of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, one of the groups representing the districts, said in a statement.
The complaint, filed in November, argued that former Gov. Tom Corbett, state lawmakers and the state Department of Education violated their constitutional obligation to provide all students with the opportunity to pass state-mandated academic standards. It was filed by six school districts, seven parents, the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools and the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference. The Commonwealth Court ruling was the latest in a long line of Pennsylvania state court decisions basically leaving the matter up to the executive branch. Since the previous rulings, Pennsylvania has adopted the Keystone exams as a graduation requirement and completed a costing-out study setting levels for what each school district needs to provide an adequate education.