Education Law Center executive director Deborah Gordon Klehr wrote, “All Pennsylvanians need to know that our state is failing by inadequately and inequitably funding our schools. Pennsylvania once made a legislative commitment that 50% of education funding would come from the state ‒ but that commitment was not enforced and was abandoned decades ago.” Read her full op-ed published in Pennlive on November 5, 2021.
Learn more about our case here.
Students facing some of the greatest barriers to timely high school graduation finally get some relief. On January 26, Governor Wolf signed SB 324 into law as Act 1 of 2022, bringing a successful conclusion to a 10-year effort. The law requires school districts to provide one-on-one assistance to students who are at risk of losing course credits as a result of foster care or juvenile justice placements or who experience homelessness. Join us in celebrating this important victory!
“In the Pennsylvania’s court system, there is case presently being heard against the government related to school funding. The case is especially important as the outcomes will impact Pennsylvania’s economic standing for years to come.” Read this op-ed by former Pa. Education Secretary Gerald Zahorchak.
“A landmark case that could dramatically change the way Pennsylvania funds its public schools began in Commonwealth Court today, seven years after it was filed. The case centers on wide spending gaps among the state’s poorest and wealthiest school districts.” Read this report from WHYY/Keystone Crossroads.
ELC’s executive director Deborah Gordon Klehr wrote:
“For decades, Pennsylvania lawmakers have shunned their responsibilities when it comes to school funding, severely shortchanging many school districts. The result is grave inequities that have impacted generations of students.
In a trial that begins on Nov. 12, a group of petitioners is challenging the state funding system in Commonwealth Court.” Read more here.
“Over more than four weeks of testimony, the landmark trial in the challenge to Pennsylvania’s school-funding system has featured superintendents and teachers from rural, urban, and suburban communities describing cash-strapped schools — including Delaware County’s William Penn district — that struggle to meet state academic standards.” Read this recap from the Philadelphia Inquirer’s education reporters.
An episode of Smart Talk from WITF (Harrisburg) reviews the status of the school funding court case with guests Mallory Falk, WHYY Philadelphia education reporter; Brenda Marrero, executive director, Public Interest Law Center; and Deborah Gordon Klehr, executive director, Education Law Center – PA.
Testimony in the Pennsylvania public education funding lawsuit highlighted serious issues facing schools around the Commonwealth. “Witnesses painted a grim picture of what a normal school day looks like for many students throughout Pennsylvania, and how the COVID-19 pandemic made things worse.” Issues dealing with infrastructure like classroom space and capacity, ventilation systems, and more were detailed. Read and watch this report from WENY (Erie).
In 2014, a group of school districts, parents, and advocates embarked on a legal journey that could upend the way Pennsylvania funds its schools. Those petitioners head to court in Harrisburg on Nov. 12. “William Penn School District et al. v. Pennsylvania Department of Education et al. — colloquially referred to as Pennsylvania’s school funding lawsuit — is among the more complicated and consequential legal fights in state history.” Read and listen to this report from WHYY.
Education Law Center executive director Deborah Gordon Klehr wrote about the unconstitutionality of Pennsylvania’s current school funding system, and the funding lawsuit in Commonwealth Court where trial is scheduled to start November 2021.
USA Today reporter Alia Wong analyzes two neighboring Pennsylvania school districts and finds that the schools are funded based on the community’s local wealth, leaving one community at a huge disadvantage.