School Funding Lawsuit

Pennsylvania’s constitution states that the General Assembly must “provide a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.” Instead, the state has adopted an irrational and inequitable system of funding public education that does not provide the resources students need to meet state standards and discriminates against students based on where they live and the wealth of their local communities.

On November 10, 2014, we filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court on behalf of six school districts, seven parents, the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS) and the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference against legislative leaders, state education officials, and the Governor for failing to uphold the General Assembly’s constitutional education obligation. We are conducting this litigation in partnership with the Education Law Center – Pennsylvania and pro bono counsel from O’Melveny & Myers LLP.

 

Together with our clients, we are asking the Court to hear from parents, educators and school board members about the impact of the unfair and underfunded system on students. Our complaint alleges the Court has the duty to determine whether or not the legislature is supporting a “thorough and efficient system of public education,” as mandated by the state constitution based on the legislature’s own academic standards. We are asking for a court order that will force the legislature to comply with the state constitution and ensure all students receive access to a high-quality public education.

In April 2015, the Commonwealth Court ruled that prior Pennsylvania Supreme Court precedent eliminates any role for the courts in overseeing whether the legislature complies with the state constitution on school funding questions. We filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, which scheduled oral argument in the case for September 13, 2016 in Philadelphia.

More information on this lawsuit can also be found at https://edfundinglawsuit.wordpress.com/.

Meet our Clients

Thorough and Efficient? A video on Pennsylvania’s Education Funding Lawsuit

Petitioner Sheila Armstrong

Petitioner Joe Bard

Petitioner Joe Bruni

Petitioner Dr. Joan Duvall-Flynn

Case Documents

Petitioners: William Penn School District; Panther Valley School District; The School District of Lancaster; Greater Johnstown School District; Wilkes-Barre Area School District; Shenandoah Valley School District; Jamella and Bryant Miller, Parents of K.M., minor; Sheila Armstrong, parent of S.A., minor; Tyesha Strickland, parent of E.T., minor; Angel Martinez, parent of A.M., minor; Barbara Nemeth, parent of C.M., minor; Tracey Hughes, parent of P.M.H., minor; Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools; and the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference

Respondents: Pennsylvania Department of Education; President Pro Tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate; Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives; Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania State Board of Education; Acting Secretary of Education

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

Tools for Advocates

Special thanks to Education Voters of PA for curating many of these resources!

Here are actions you can take to support this lawsuit.

Attend oral argument

  • Stay tuned to this site for an announcement about the date and location of oral argument! It is likely oral argument will take place in the fall of 2016.

Write and submit a Letter to the Editor or Op-Ed to your local newspaper

  • Click here for instructions on writing a Letter to the Editor supporting the lawsuit
  • Contact Barb Grimaldi at bgrimaldi [at] pubinlaw [dot] org or 267-546-1304 if you would like help with your letter or op-ed submission

Ask your local school board or organization to pass a resolution in support of the lawsuit

  • Click here for a sample resolution
  • Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about passing a resolution
  • Click here to see which schools and organizations have already passed resolutions

Call Governor Wolf

  • (717) 787-2500
  • Ask the Governor to stop opposing the lawsuit and instead support allowing the lawsuit to go to a full trial on the merits of the case

Join The Campaign for Fair Education Funding

Resources and Reports

Use this research and information to support your advocacy.

FAQs

Q: What is the problem?

A: The state has failed to ensure that essential resources are available for all of our public school students to meet state academic standards. Hundreds of thousands of students throughout the state lack basic educational supports and services – functioning school libraries, up-to-date textbooks and curriculum materials, reasonable class sizes, guidance counselors, school nurses, voc-ed and college prep classes, academic tutoring programs, the list goes on.

The state funding system also is unfair, the most unfair in the country.  Because most school funding comes from local property taxes, there is a huge gap between the amount of money available for the education of children in low property wealth districts and the amount for children in high property wealth districts.  This irrational system means that children in low wealth districts don’t have the same access to the resources they need to succeed in school.

The state must ensure that every student receives these primary elements of education, not only those living in select zip codes. And despite the tireless efforts of dedicated school leaders, teachers, support staff, and parents, the diminishing resources in too many of our schools prevent too many Pennsylvania students from meeting the academic standards set by the State, including the PSSAs and the Keystone graduation exams. Our state provides a smaller share of the cost of education than almost all other states.

Our state provides a smaller share of the cost of education than almost all other states.  This is a state-level problem that cannot be solved at the local level.

Q: Who is responsible?

A: The state constitution makes the General Assembly responsible for putting in place a school funding system that delivers the essential resources all students need to be successful in school, including additional help for students at risk of academic failure. Although the constitution gives the General Assembly the responsibility, we believe the courts have a role in making sure that the General Assembly meets its constitutional role. The state has consistently failed to meet this basic responsibility. Across the state, in urban and rural communities alike, the state is not providing our schools with the necessary resources and tools principals and teachers must have to educate our children for the Pennsylvania of the 21st Century.

Q: Why now?

A: We simply cannot wait any longer to start fixing a system where students do not have basic educational supports and services, such as functioning school libraries, up-to-date textbooks and curriculum materials, reasonable class sizes, guidance counselors, school nurses, voc-ed and college prep classes, and academic tutoring programs. Every year they go without the resources they need is a year lost they cannot get back. We cannot wait any longer for our government leaders to fulfill their responsibilities to Pennsylvania’s children while, in fact, the under-funding of our schools continues to get worse and student performance continues to go down. We must act now.

Q: Does this case become moot if the Governor and Legislature agree to add additional basic education dollars to the budget?

A: No. If additional dollars are allocated to this year’s and/or next year’s budget, districts still will not receive adequate funding to meet the needs of the students. A one or two year budget proposal is not long-term assurance. Our children need a long-term guarantee and a systemic solution. That is why we are continuing to pursue this lawsuit.

Q: What is the legal claim?

A: There are two claims.

First, the state has a legal obligation under the PA Constitution to “provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education” for all students. A “thorough and efficient” public education is one that is adequately supported, effective, and efficient so that all of Pennsylvania’s children have the opportunity to meet state academic standards. The state has set academic standards that define what is required for a “thorough and efficient” public education, but it has failed to maintain and support the system with enough funding to ensure that every school district has the essential resources for students to meet those standards.

Second, the current method of funding has resulted in significant resource disparities that discriminate against students living in districts with low property values and incomes. This irrational funding disparity violates the Equal Protection Clause of our state constitution because children in low-wealth districts are being denied the opportunity to receive an adequate education, while their peers in high-wealth districts are receiving a high-quality education.

Q: Who is bringing this case?

A: Six school districts: William Penn School District, the School District of Lancaster, Panther Valley School District, Greater Johnstown School District, Shenandoah Valley School District, and Wilkes-Barre Area School District. All of these districts have a high proportion of children in poverty and are unable to raise enough local property taxes to make up for the lack of adequate state funding.

In addition, the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools, a group of approximately 150 small and rural school districts and 13 Intermediate Units across PA, families whose children attend under-funded and under-resourced schools in Philadelphia, William Penn, Lancaster, Greater Johnstown and Shenandoah Valley school districts, and the NAACP – Pennsylvania State Conference are bringing the case.

Q: Who is being sued?

A: The leaders of the House and Senate, the Secretary of Education and Department of Education, the State Board of Education, and the Governor.  They are called “indispensable parties” under the law and must be included in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit previously named Governor Corbett and Secretary Dumaresq as defendants. As a technical matter, Governor Wolf and acting Secretary Rivera have been substituted as defendants.

Q: Does the appointment of Pedro Rivera as acting Secretary of Education have any effect on the case? 

A: It has no substantive effect.  The Lancaster School District, of which he was the Superintendent, remains as a plaintiff.  His name will be substituted for Secretary Dumaresq on the pleadings.

Q: What are you asking for in the lawsuit?

A: We’re asking the court to:

(1) Declare that the current system of funding our schools does not comply with the state constitution; and

(2) Order the defendants to cease using a funding system that does not provide adequate funding where students can meet state standards and which discriminates against low wealth districts.

(3) Order the defendants to create and maintain a constitutional school funding system that will enable all students to meet state academic standards and does not discriminate against low-wealth school districts.

Q: Wasn’t there a previous lawsuit?

A: The last case was decided fifteen years ago, in 1999.  In that case, the court ruled that it could not address problems with school funding because, at that time, it did not have any manageable academic and other standards by which to measure what students needed to learn and whether they were meeting those standards. Since the 1999 ruling, the situation has changed. The state has adopted strict academic standards, including the PSSAs for grades 3 through 8, and the newly-implemented Keystone graduation exams. We are not asking the court to change its 1999 ruling.  Instead, we are showing the court that those manageable standards now exist.

Q: What is the current status of the lawsuit?

A: In April 2015, the Commonwealth Court decided to dismiss the case on the grounds that it presents a political question that cannot be addressed through the court system. In September 2015, the petitioners filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to send the case to a full trial. They contend that the Commonwealth Court erred in dismissing the lawsuit against legislative leaders and state education officials.  The appeal is now fully briefed by all parties,  and the high court is expected to hear argument in the case in 2016.

Case Updates

PA Supreme Court Sets Argument Date for Fair Education Funding Lawsuit

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court announced on Wednesday that it will hear oral argument for Pennsylvania’s landmark education funding lawsuit on September 13, 2016, in City Hall, Room 456 at 9:00 a.m.

The lawsuit, William Penn School District vs. Pennsylvania Dept. of Education, seeks to remedy decades of inequitable education funding that have robbed children of the resources they need to succeed. It argues that the state’s system of funding public education is so inadequate and unequal that it violates state constitutional provisions requiring a “thorough and efficient system of public education” and equal treatment under the law.

The suit was filed in November 2014 by a broad-based coalition of parents, school districts and non-profit organizations that have seen firsthand the devastating impact of these failures in classrooms and in children’s lives. The plaintiffs include: six school districts – William Penn, Panther Valley, Lancaster, Greater Johnstown, Wilkes-Barre Area and Shenandoah Valley – the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS), and the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference. The Public Interest Law Center and the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania are representing these plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs are asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to permit a full trial in this case by reversing a 2015 Commonwealth Court decision that dismissed the case as raising a political question. This reversal would allow the plaintiffs to present evidence that the state General Assembly has violated the Pennsylvania Constitution by failing to adequately and equitably fund Pennsylvania’s public schools.

“We are pleased that the Court will hear argument in September on the need to enforce the Constitution’s requirement that every child receive a quality, adequately funded, public education. Our inadequate, inequitable funding system leaves children without the most basic resources they deserve, and that they need to become productive members of society,” said Michael Churchill, of counsel for the Public Interest Law Center.

“After years of insufficient funding for our classrooms, protracted stalemates and in the absence of any method for linking school spending to state standards, court enforcement of the constitution is the only way we can guarantee that all children in Pennsylvania will have adequate resources to learn regardless of where they live and what school they attend,” said Deborah Gordon Klehr, Executive Director of the Education Law Center. “We are confident that the courts will step in where the General Assembly has failed and begin upholding this important constitutional requirement.”

In the absence of judicial oversight, the Commonwealth has underfunded rural, suburban, and urban schools all over the state for many years. According to the petition filed by the plaintiffs, the General Assembly has adopted state standards that define the academic content children must learn but has failed to provide the funding necessary to give students an opportunity to meet those standards. As a result, students in underfunded schools struggle academically and fail to meet state standards.  While Pennsylvania recently adopted a school funding formula – which the attorneys for the plaintiffs acknowledge is a step in the right direction – only a small fraction of education dollars will be driven through that formula and state funding remains wholly inadequate to meet the needs of students.

If the plaintiffs win at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the case will return to the Commonwealth Court for a full trial on the merits.

All case documents can be viewed here: https://edfundinglawsuit.wordpress.com/

City of Philadelphia Submits Brief in Support of School Funding Lawsuit

The City of Philadelphia filed a “friend of the court” brief on February 16, 2016, in support of our ongoing lawsuit against state officials over the Commonwealth’s broken system of school funding.

Through this amicus brief, the City joins six school districts, parents and associations from across the state in asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to send the case back to Commonwealth Court for a full trial on whether or not the state legislature has violated its constitutional responsibility to maintain and support “a thorough and efficient system of public education.” The brief details how the state’s current funding scheme creates gross disparities between school districts in low and high wealth areas and fails to support poorer school districts like Philadelphia, which have less capacity to raise local revenue.

As the budget impasse continues into its eighth month with no end in sight, this suit is more important than ever to ensure Pennsylvania’s students have long-term access to the high-quality public education they need to become engaged citizens. We are grateful to the City and Solicitor Sozi P. Tulante for sharing with the Court the stories of the harm faced by Philadelphia students, and for giving voice to the concerns of hundreds of thousands of students from urban, rural, suburban, large districts throughout Pennsylvania.

“The degree to which the School District is being underfunded by the state is even worse than the numbers suggest because of the District’s high percentage of needy students,” Solicitor Tulante said. “Only this Court’s intervention can provide Philadelphia’s children with the education funding they deserve from the state.”

“The harm to Philadelphia’s children described by the city’s brief is being repeated throughout the Commonwealth in districts large and small, rural, suburban and urban,” said Jennifer Clarke, Executive Director of the Public Interest Law Center.  “We are grateful to the City for bringing these facts to the Court.”

Parents, School Districts Urge Courts to Intervene in School Funding Crisis

Parents and school districts challenging Pennsylvania’s school funding system told the state Supreme Court on November 30 that it should decide the case on the merits and reject the state’s plea to toss the case because of its complexity and difficulty. In a reply brief filed November 30, the petitioners defended their position that the courts can and must examine claims that the state is failing its constitutional obligations to adequately fund “a thorough and efficient system of public education” in a manner which does not discriminate against low-wealth districts.

Parents and districts submitted the reply brief as part of their appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in William Penn School District vs. Pennsylvania Dept. of Education. The lawsuit, which was filed in November 2014, claims that the state’s system of funding public education is so inadequate and unequal that it violates the education and equal protection provisions of the Pennsylvania Constitution. In April, the Commonwealth Court dismissed the case, relying on older cases which it believed prevent courts from considering any school funding issues, thereby leaving such questions solely in the hands of the political process.

Parents and districts involved include: seven parents of children in underfunded public schools, six school districts including William Penn, Panther Valley, Lancaster, Greater Johnstown, Wilkes-Barre Area and Shenandoah Valley, the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS), and the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference. The Public Interest Law Center and the Education Law Center-Pennsylvania represent these petitioners.

“Without judicial oversight, the legislative process has severely underfunded schools across the state and our children are paying the price,” said Maura McInerney, senior attorney with the Education Law Center. “The legislative and executive branches have argued that the courts are powerless to consider these issues, but we believe the judicial branch’s duty does not disappear merely because education funding issues are complex and politically charged. In 28 other states court-mandated reforms have had a direct and positive impact on increasing sustained education funding and improving academic outcomes.”

In briefs filed earlier this month, the legislative and executive branches claimed that all education funding decisions — no matter how extreme, irrational, or arbitrary — should be protected from judicial review. According to the reply brief filed today, substantial changes since the last school funding case was dismissed in 1999 pave the way for the court to evaluate the constitutionality of the current funding scheme. These changes include the adoption of content-based state standards, testing assessments, graduation exams and a costing out study.

“The briefs filed by state officials ask the Court to give the legislature complete immunity from any judicial review, even as our children suffer from unequal and underfunded schools,” said Jennifer Clarke, executive director of the Public Interest Law Center. “Even if the political process finally results in a budget which includes a one-time allocation of significant funds for this school year, there is no sign that elected officials will make any attempt to create a funding structure that will enable students to meet the standards the legislature itself has established.  That is why the courts must step in.”

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is expected to schedule oral argument in the case in 2016.

Legislature and Governor Tell PA Supreme Court it Cannot Enforce State Constitution Requiring Support of a Thorough and Efficient System of Schools

Attorneys for the state legislature and the executive branch told the Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week that the Court is powerless to decide whether or not the state system of funding public schools violates the state Constitution.

Those statements came in briefs supporting the Commonwealth Court’s dismissal of William Penn School District vs. Pennsylvania Dept. of Education, a lawsuit claiming that the state’s system of funding public education is so inadequate and unequal that it violates state constitutional provisions requiring a “thorough and efficient system of public education” and equal treatment under the law. The suit was filed a year ago by seven parents of children in underfunded public schools across Pennsylvania, six school districts including William Penn, Panther Valley, Lancaster, Greater Johnstown, Wilkes-Barre Area and Shenandoah Valley, the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS), and the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference. The Public Interest Law Center and the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania are representing these petitioners.

“Pennsylvania’s children and families need accountability. As the budget impasse continues and school districts are literally running out of money, it is particularly galling now for the legislature and the executive branch to claim that they are free to do whatever they want without any constitutional oversight. We are talking about the most fundamental right of our Commonwealth – the opportunity to receive a quality public education no matter where you live,” said Jennifer R. Clarke, executive director of the Public Interest Law Center.

“Pennsylvania’s public education system is broken due to the failure of our legislature to adequately and more equitably fund our schools. Our children are paying the price,” said Maura McInerney, senior attorney with the Education Law Center. “Gov. Wolf has made repeated public statements that the General Assembly is failing to adhere to its constitutional obligation, including recently vetoing a school funding bill, because, in his own words, ‘it fails to meet our constitutionally required obligation of providing a thorough and efficient system of education.’ Yet the Executive Branch claims in its brief that ‘there can be no serious question’ that the School Code already meets the constitutional requirement. It does not.”

In April, the Commonwealth Court dismissed the case, citing previous cases which it said require that school funding issues must be left solely to the political process. On September 18, the districts and parents appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, telling the high court that the availability of a high-quality public education in Pennsylvania will continue to be a “function of community wealth rather than a constitutional guarantee” unless there is judicial intervention. The parents and districts are asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to reverse the Commonwealth Court’s decision and to send the case to a full trial where they can present evidence that the state legislature has failed to adequately and equitably fund the public schools as required by Pennsylvania’s state constitution.

“We are confident that the Supreme Court will reject the notion that our Constitution’s language expressly requiring the General Assembly to ‘support’ a quality system of public education for all of Pennsylvania’s school children is meaningless and unenforceable. The Executive Branch and the Legislature have ignored these rights for too long and we look forward to presenting this case to the Court,” continued McInerney.

Lacking judicial oversight, the legislative process has underfunded rural, suburban and urban schools all over the Commonwealth. According to the petition filed by the districts and parents last year, the General Assembly has set state standards that define what content children need to learn in order to be fully educated, but has then failed to pay what is necessary to provide the schooling students need in order to meet those standards. The state’s own 2007 Costing Out Study calculated how much it actually costs for children to acquire that necessary knowledge. And yet, Pennsylvania officials have failed to ensure that all districts have the resources necessary to provide the education students need to meet state proficiency standards. In the 2012-2013 school year, fewer than half of the state’s students were able to pass the Keystone graduation exams and three-quarters of school districts operated one or more schools that could not meet targets for proficiency on the Pennsylvania System of Standardized Assessment (PSSA) exams.

The districts and parents will file a reply brief within three weeks. Lawyers for the districts and parents expect the high court will hear oral argument in early 2016. The full court, including the newly-elected justices Wecht, Dougherty and Donohue, is expected to review the case.

Parents, School Districts Ask PA Supreme Court to Hear School Funding Lawsuit

In a brief filed Friday, public school parents, school districts, and two statewide associations continued their legal challenge of Pennsylvania’s broken school funding system, telling the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that the availability of a high-quality public education in Pennsylvania will continue to be a “function of community wealth rather than a constitutional guarantee” unless the Court agrees to hear the legal challenge.

The petitioners are asking the court to send the case to a full trial and allow them to present evidence that the state legislature has failed to adequately and equitably fund the state’s public schools, thereby violating the legislature’s constitutional requirement to provide a “thorough and efficient system of public education” and to prohibit discrimination in state programs and services.

The brief advances the appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, following the Commonwealth Court’s decision last April to dismiss the William Penn School District, et al., v. Department of Education, et al. case. In their filing, parents and schools districts contend that the Commonwealth Court erred in dismissing the lawsuit against legislative leaders and state education officials on grounds that it presents a political question that cannot be addressed through the court system. Yet, courts in the vast majority of other states with similar constitutional provisions have ruled that such claims must be heard. Decades of inequitable school funding have weakened schools that serve the most vulnerable students and continue to put the state’s poorest children at a great disadvantage relative to their more affluent peers in better-funded schools.

“Pennsylvania’s constitution guarantees to all children a ‘thorough and efficient system of public education’ and equal protection under the law. Students in poor school districts are denied these rights by an irrational, unpredictable school finance scheme that is overly reliant on local property taxes and deprives students of the basic resources they need to meet state academic standards,” said Maura McInerney, senior attorney at the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania. “The legislature claims that as long as it keeps school doors open and lights on, it has met its constitutional obligation and that the courts have no role to play in interpreting the constitution. It is now up to the Supreme Court to address this unconscionable claim. Our state constitution is clear: the court cannot close its doors to the children of Pennsylvania.”

William Penn School District, et al. was brought last November by seven parents, the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS), the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference, and six school districts from urban, rural, and suburban communities, including William Penn, Panther Valley, Lancaster, Greater Johnstown, Wilkes-Barre Area and Shenandoah Valley.

“We are asking Pennsylvania courts to exercise their weighty responsibility to ensure that state officials abide by Constitutional commands, just as courts in many other states have done,” said Jennifer Clarke, executive director of the Public Interest Law Center. “We hope that this Supreme Court will step up because the disparities between wealthy and poor school districts in Pennsylvania are the greatest in the country, with the wealthiest school districts spending 33% more per-pupil than the poorest. All Pennsylvanians will benefit if the Court acts to ensure a quality education is available to all students.”

Click here to read the full brief.

School Districts, Parents Take School Funding Challenge to State’s Highest Court

Harrisburg, Pa. – Today school districts, parents and two statewide associations filed an appeal in Pennsylvania Supreme Court challenging last month’s Commonwealth Court decision, which dismissed a lawsuit contesting the state’s failure to adequately and equitably fund Pennsylvania’s public schools as required by the Pennsylvania Constitution. The state Supreme Court is obligated to hear the appeal.

“Our Supreme Court bears the responsibility for ensuring that our most precious constitutional rights are protected. We hope that that the high court will agree that this responsibility includes public education, the most important issue facing our Commonwealth,” said Jennifer Clarke, executive director of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia.

The case, William Penn School District, et al., v. Department of Education, et al., alleges that legislative leaders, state education officials, and the Governor are in violation of their constitutional obligation to provide a system of public education that gives all children in Pennsylvania an opportunity to learn state-defined curriculum, meet state-imposed academic standards, and thrive in today’s world. The case was brought last November by seven parents, the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS), the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference, and six districts including the William Penn School District, the Panther Valley School District, the School District of Lancaster, the Greater Johnstown School District, the Wilkes-Barre Area School District and the Shenandoah Valley School District. The Public Interest Law Center and the Education Law Center-PA are representing the districts and parents.

In an April decision, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania interpreted prior Supreme Court precedent as eliminating any role for the courts in determining whether the legislature complies with the state constitution on school funding questions.

“Today, many students across the state are finishing yet another school year without the basic resources they need to meet rigorous state-imposed standards,” said Maura McInerney of the Education Law Center. “It is time for our courts to recognize the substantial developments that have taken place since previous lawsuits were heard and ensure that the legislature complies with its constitutional duty to provide a thorough and efficient system of public education. Pennsylvania’s public school students are entitled to their day in court.”

“Our state constitution enshrines the idea that a right to a high-quality public education transcends politics,” said Michael Churchill, of counsel with the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia. “That right was built into every state constitution in the country and has been found justiciable by courts in 38 states.  This is because all Americans recognize that a good public education is the cornerstone for prosperity and progress.”

The Court will issue a briefing schedule and determine when this case will be heard.

School Funding Case One Step Closer to Hearing by Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Commonwealth Court Refuses to Review Whether School Funding Complies with State Constitution 

April 21, 2015

Harrisburg, Pa. – The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania today issued an order in the lawsuit challenging the state’s failure to adequately and equitably fund Pennsylvania’s public schools.  The lower court interpreted prior state Supreme Court precedent as eliminating any role for the courts in overseeing whether the legislature complies with the state constitution on school funding questions.

Counsel for the petitioners will file an appeal to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania within the next thirty days. “This is a question of paramount importance to all Pennsylvanians, and we always knew this would ultimately be decided by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court,” said Jennifer Clarke, executive director of The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, a member of the legal team representing petitioners in this case.

The case, William Penn School District, et al., v. Department of Education, et al., was brought by six school districts, seven parents, the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS) and the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference last November. The lawsuit alleges that legislative leaders, state education officials, and the Governor violated their constitutional obligation to provide a system of public education that gives all children in Pennsylvania an equal opportunity to meet state-imposed academic standards and thrive in today’s world. The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and the Education Law Center-PA are representing the petitioners.

After the order was issued, lawyers for the petitioners pointed out that the Commonwealth Court only analyzed the alleged violation of the constitution’s education clause. It did not discuss the second claim in the case: violation of Pennsylvania’s equal protection clause.

“At a time when research and the national press have singled out Pennsylvania as the state with the most unequal funding in the country, we are disappointed that the Commonwealth Court did not address this claim in any meaningful way” said Maura McInerney, senior staff attorney at the Education Law Center-PA. “We believe the Supreme Court will set the law right and recognize that courts have a clear duty to address both claims. Since the earlier cases were decided, the legislature has determined what students need to learn and the cost of providing that education, but they have failed to provide all students with basic resources they need to meet state standards. Pennsylvania courts are obligated to ensure that our constitution is followed.  It’s not enough to just ‘keep the lights on’ in our schools, as the State has argued.”

“We all need to remember that right now, students across the state are sitting down to take standardized tests they are not prepared for because their schools have been starved of basic resources like teachers and text books,” said Michael Churchill, of counsel at The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia. “We will continue to argue, on behalf of all Pennsylvanians, that the courts have a role in protecting our state’s constitutional right to a thorough and efficient system of public education and that the legislature does not have carte blanche to ignore the funding necessary for students to succeed.”

The plaintiff school districts represent the interests of children from across the state including those in rural, urban, and suburban areas. They include the William Penn School District, the Panther Valley School District, the School District of Lancaster, the Greater Johnstown School District, the Wilkes-Barre Area School District and the Shenandoah Valley School District. The seven parent plaintiffs are filing on behalf of their children enrolled in one of these districts or the School District of Philadelphia. The NAACP and PARSS are filing on behalf of their members. PARSS members include small and rural public school districts and Intermediate Units.

“While this case continues to move through the judicial process, it is now more important than ever for people to call the officials you elected and urge them to pass a budget that reflects the needs of all of our students,” said Joseph Bruni, superintendent of the William Penn School District, a petitioner in the case. “Our courts and elected officials need to remember that kids do not get a second chance to go to school again after the legislature has figured out whether or not it wants to pass a budget that truly and equitably funds our schools.”

This next stage of the judicial process is expected to continue into 2016.

Click here to read the order.

Where the PA Supreme Court Candidates Stand on Funding for Public Education

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court candidates were asked about public education at the Philly Neighborworks Supreme Court candidates forum. There was a direct question about the role of the Supreme Court in ensuring an adequate education. The answers can be heard from minutes 31:55 to 37:58 of the following video: https://pcntv.com/friday-at-1035-am-pa-supreme-court-candidates-forum/.

Oral Argument Recap

On March 11, together with the Education Law Center and O’Melveny & Myers LLP, we presented oral argument in our school funding lawsuit.

Both sides argued before an en banc panel of seven Commonwealth Court judges. We asked the court to hear the merits of our case and permit us to show in a trial the devastating impact the state’s failure to provide a “thorough and efficient system of public education” is having on hundreds of thousands of kids across the Commonwealth.

Some members of the court appeared troubled by the failure of students to meet graduation standards set out by the legislature. In reply, attorneys for the state argued that this case cannot be decided by a court but is instead a matter to be decided in the political arena by the legislature. The state further argued that if schools have enough money to open and turn the lights on, the state has done its job to provide a “thorough and efficient system of public education.” Pro bono counsel argued on behalf of our clients that just opening schools is not enough for students to be able to meet the academic standards the legislature has adopted and now require for graduation.

We do not know when the court will issue its decision. It could be months. Either side is expected to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

We knew when we brought this case that it would take time to wind through the judicial process. But we also know that our students cannot wait any longer.  And that’s where you come in. It is important to keep the pressure on elected officials. Legislators need to hear from residents every day that the school funding system needs to be fixed now – not in a year.

Although Governor Wolf’s budget proposal recommends some relief, we do not know how it will change as it moves through the legislative process and it is a short-term proposal, not the long-term guarantee our children need.

Please take a moment in the next few days to call your legislators. Tell them that you support the goals of our lawsuit and want a full, fair school funding formula that provides all students the resources they need.

You can borrow from a statement made by Joseph Bruni, superintendent of the William Penn School District, one of the six petitioner districts in this case: “Our legislators need to know that they will be held accountable to ensure all of Pennsylvania’s children, regardless of where they live or the color of their skin, have access to a thorough and efficient system of public education as mandated by our state’s constitution.”

Click here to find contact information for your legislators. Let us know you have called by emailing Barb at bgrimaldi@pilcop.org. These calls do matter as they are counted and tracked by legislative staff.

Briefs Filed, Oral Argument Scheduled in School Funding Lawsuit

State officials have filed preliminary objections asking the court to dismiss the case without a trial on the grounds that courts should not decide claims that school funding violates the state Constitution. On February 17, we filed a brief in response to the state’s preliminary objections in the case.  This brief marks our final brief in this first stage of this case.

Amicus or “friend of the court” briefs are also expected to be filed over the next few weeks. Click here to read the first such brief, filed by the Consortium for Public Education, Parents United for Public Education, P.O.W.E.R., Youth United for Change, the Philadelphia Student Union, the PA Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, and Parent Education and Advocacy Leadership Center.

The state’s argument is the same one used in a previous funding case tried in the late 1990s. In that case, the court ruled that it could not address problems with school funding because, at that time, it did not have any manageable standards by which it could measure what students needed to learn and whether they were meeting those standards. Since the 1999 ruling, the situation has changed substantially. The state adopted strict academic standards, including the PSSAs for grades 3 through 11, and the newly-implemented Keystone graduation exams. In addition, in the vast majority of states, from Rhode Island to Kansas to South Carolina, courts have found constitutional challenges to school funding are justiciable.

The state also argues that differences in funding levels in different areas of the state are simply a part of our free-market economy and cannot be stopped, leaving students in more impoverished areas inevitably to suffer. To the contrary, our response brief demonstrates that the state Constitution was designed to protect all students from the whims of the economy: “But that is precisely what the framers sought to prevent by enshrining the right to a “thorough and efficient system of public education” in the Pennsylvania Constitution. Through this clause they declared that public education is not a product that can be left to the whims of the free market, nor are Pennsylvania’s children mere consumers who can be deprived of basic educational necessities based solely on the happenstance of their zip code. Public education is the cornerstone of our society, and it must be treated as such.”

Oral arguments have been scheduled for March 11, 2015, at 9:30 a.m. in Harrisburg. It is important for the Court to see that there is wide, public support for the goal of this lawsuit – full, fair funding for public education. As such, we invite YOU the public to join us in the court room for oral argument in this case.

Oral Argument in School Funding Lawsuit
Wednesday, March 11, 9:30 a.m.
Pennsylvania Judicial Center
601 Commonwealth Avenue
Courtroom 5001
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

If you plan to attend or have questions, contact Barb Grimaldi at bgrimaldi@pilcop.org. The courtroom is just a few blocks from the Harrisburg Amtrak station.

Petitioners Answer State’s Preliminary Objections

The petitioners filed their answers to the state’s preliminary objections, which mostly refer to a previously tried case. In response to the legislators’ brief, we wrote that some factual issues raised by that brief are not appropriate for the court to consider at this time.

After the answers were filed, the court issued a scheduling order for briefing the preliminary objections. Briefs in support of the respondents’ preliminary objections must be filed on or before January 16, 2015. Briefs in opposition must be filed on or before February 17, 2015. Argument will be heard in March 2015.

State Files Preliminary Objections

The state did as expected when filing its preliminary objections. Most of the state’s claims refer back to a previously tried case. The legislators’ brief does raise some factual issues that we believe are not appropriate for the court to consider at this point in time.

We will answer these objections, and after our answer is filed, we expect the court to issue a scheduling order for briefing the preliminary objections.

Philadelphia City Council Supports our School Funding Lawsuit

Philadelphia City Council adopted a resolution in support of our School Funding Lawsuit.

Reaffirming Pennsylvania’s constitutional guarantee of “a thorough and efficient system of public education”, the resolution emphasizes that this core responsibility has been neglected since 2011 when the state “reversed progress towards equity in education funding.”

While the severe budget cuts of 2011 have detrimentally impacted local communities with disadvantaged tax bases throughout Pennsylvania, the resolution underscores that “these adverse effects can be acutely felt here in Philadelphia” as evidenced by concerning increase of class sizes, the dismissal of teachers as well as critical support staff, and the degradation of other aspects of students’ education.

Noting that Pennsylvania is one of only three states in the nation without a fair funding formula when it comes to education, the City Council’s resolution thus calls upon the state legislature to uphold its constitutional duty and administer a more equitable policy of funding distribution.

Click here to read the full resolution

Parents and School Districts File Suit against Pennsylvania State Officials for Failing to Maintain a Fair and Adequate System of Public Education

On November 10, 2014, six school districts, seven parents, the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS) and the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court against legislative leaders, state education officials, and the Governor for failing to uphold the General Assembly’s constitutional obligation to provide a system of public education that gives all children in Pennsylvania the resources they need to meet state-imposed academic standards and thrive in today’s world. The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and the Education Law Center-PA are representing the petitioners.

“My child is in classes with too many other students and she has no access to tutoring services or support from paraprofessionals, but our elected officials still expect and require her to pass standardized tests,” said Jamela Miller, parent of 11-year-old K.M., a student in the William Penn School District. “How are kids supposed to pass the tests required to graduate high school, find a job and contribute to our economy if their schools are starving for resources?”

According to the complaint, state officials have adopted an irrational school funding system that does not deliver the essential resources students need and discriminates against children based on where they live and the wealth of their communities.

The plaintiff school districts represent the interests of children from across the state including those in rural, urban, and suburban areas. They include the William Penn School District, the Panther Valley School District, the School District of Lancaster, the Greater Johnstown School District, the Wilkes-Barre Area School District and the Shenandoah Valley School District. The seven parent plaintiffs are filing on behalf of their children enrolled in one of these districts or the School District of Philadelphia. The NAACP and PARSS are filing on behalf of their members. PARSS members include small and rural public school districts and Intermediate Units.

“Pennsylvania’s state constitution tells us that the buck stops with the state Legislature when it comes to public education. State officials know exactly what needs to be done, but they refuse to do it. We are asking the Court to step in and solve this problem for the future of our children and our Commonwealth,” said Jennifer R. Clarke, executive director of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia. “There is no second chance for children—they cannot go through school all over again.”

According to the complaint, the General Assembly has decided what content children need to learn to obtain a quality education, and they know how much it costs for children to acquire that knowledge. But, state officials have failed to ensure that students in all districts have adequate resources to meet these proficiency standards, such as the Keystone graduation exams. The most recent figures from the 2012-2013 school year show that fewer than half of the state’s students were able to pass the Keystone graduation exams and that three-quarters of school districts operated one or more schools that could not meet targets for proficiency on the Pennsylvania System of Standardized Assessment (PSSA) exams.

“We’ve had to lay off teachers, support staff, guidance counselors, social workers, reading specialists and coaches,” said Joseph Bruni, superintendent of the William Penn School District, one of the petitioners in the case. “Classrooms are overcrowded and we had to cut the number of classes we offer children each day. Even though our dedicated teachers and staff are working harder than ever, our children are paying the price and being improperly labeled as failures because the state is not fulfilling its responsibility.”

In 2011, the Legislature stopped using a funding formula and stopped making any efforts to close funding gaps. School districts therefore are forced to rely heavily on local property taxes, meaning students in low-wealth districts do not have access to the same resources as their peers in wealthier areas. This creates gross disparities and discriminates against students on the basis of where they live: per pupil spending ranges from as little as $9,800 per student in districts with low property values and incomes to more than $28,400 per student in districts with high-property values and incomes.

“Pennsylvania’s current practices are denying too many districts the resources they need to teach our kids,” said Joseph Bard, executive director of PARSS. “For example, kids in small, rural areas of the state are legally entitled to the same education as kids in sprawling suburban areas, but we give the Legislature an F in making that happen.”

Hundreds of thousands of students across the state lack basic supports and services such as functioning school libraries, up-to-date textbooks, reasonable class sizes, guidance counselors, regular access to school nurses, vocational education and college prep classes, and academic tutoring programs, among others. Students living in poverty and English language learners in particular face significant challenges without these types of resources.

The plaintiffs are asking the Court to hear from parents, educators and school board members about the impact of the unfair and underfunded system on students. The complaint alleges the Court has the duty to determine whether or not the legislature is supporting a “thorough and efficient system of public education,” as mandated by the state constitution based on the legislature’s own standards. Petitioners are asking for a court order that will force the legislature to comply with the state constitution and ensure all students receive access to a high-quality public education.

“Students and teachers are making concerted efforts to ensure that students acquire needed skills in reading, math and science—but without basic services, too many students now face insurmountable and illegal disadvantages,” said Maura McInerney, senior staff attorney for the Education Law Center-PA. “Our state provides a smaller share of the cost of education than almost all of the other states in the country, and our students and our economy are suffering because of it.  We cannot afford to ignore this problem.”

The petitioners are urging parents and citizens to call on their elected officials to fix this problem immediately, noting the legal process will take time and the Legislature has the power and responsibility to implement changes now.

Click here to read the Complaint.

Press

Your school property taxes are probably rising again. Here’s how much — and why – Philadelphia Inquirer, June 30, 2016

School funding creates divide in state attorney general’s race – Associated Press, May 28, 2016

Can More Money Fix America’s Schools? – NPR, April 25, 2016

The cold realities of education in a poor Pennsylvania school district – Newsworks/WHYY, April 24, 2016

William Penn gets support from Upper Darby in lawsuit – News of Delaware County, April 13, 2016

Delco school districts happy Pa. budget impasse is over – Delaware County Daily Times, March 25, 2016

Haverford board votes to support William Penn School District in lawsuit – Delaware County Daily Times, March 17, 2016

UNITED: School directors support lawsuit seeking to fix ed funding – Indiana Gazette, March 9, 2016

Philadelphia weighs in on school funding suit – Philadelphia Inquirer, February 17, 2016

City files ‘friend of court’ brief in school funding lawsuit – The Notebook, February 17, 2016

Pa. high court might force school funding fix – York Daily Record, February 3, 2016

Haverford School Board OKs budget, tax hike – Delaware County Daily Times, January 26, 2016

School Funding: Do Pennsylvania Courts Have a Role? – The Legal Intelligencer, January 25, 2016

What does the changing Pa. Supreme Court mean for education funding, charter schools? – Newsworks/WHYY, November 4, 2015

Jim Crow Segregation Lives On: An Examination of Pennsylvania’s Race-based System of Public School Funding – Atlanta Blackstar, October 1, 2015

School-funding advocates appeal to Supreme Court – Lancaster Online, September 29, 2015

Plaintiffs in school funding case file brief in Pa. Supreme Court – The Notebook, September 22, 2015

School Funding Lawsuit Goes to State Supreme Court – Public News Service, September 22, 2015

Group that includes W-B Area School District appeals funding lawsuit to state’s top court – Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, September 21, 2015

With Future of Pennsylvania’s Schools in the Balance, Lawsuit Seeks to Compel State to Increase Funding and Implement a more Equitable Distribution System – PBIDA Newsletter, June 22, 2015

School-funding suit headed for highest Pa. court – Philadelphia Inquirer, May 21, 2015

School funding lawsuit headed to Pa. Supreme Court – Philadelphia Daily News, May 21, 2015

Battle over fairness of state education funding heads to Supreme Court – Penn Live, May 20, 2015

Districts and Parents Appeal Pennsylvania School Funding Ruling – Education Week, May 20, 2015

Commonwealth Court decision on Pa. school funding appealed – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 20, 2015

Group asks state Supreme Court to hear school funding case – The Notebook, May 20, 2015

LETTER: It’s time for fair funding of education – Montgomery Media, May 12, 2015

School-funding issue heads for high court – Republican Herald – May 3, 2015

Court punts on fair education funding in Pa. – York Daily Record, April 28, 2015

Pa. school funding panel expected to issue recommendations in June – Newsworks/WHYY, April 28, 2015

Schools funding commission closing in on deadline – WITF, April 28, 2015

Editorial: No justice from courts on school funding – Pottstown Mercury, April 26, 2015

Editorial: Another setback for education funding – Delaware County Times, April 26, 2015

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court rejects school funding lawsuit – Watchdog, April 22, 2015

Suit challenging school funding headed to top Pa. court – Philadelphia Inquirer, April 22, 2015

Commonwealth Court tosses William Penn School District’s school funding lawsuit – Delaware County Times, April 21, 2015

Pa. court throws out challenge to state’s education funding – Pottstown Mercury, April 21, 2015

School districts, parents will take school-funding challenge to state Supreme Court – The Morning Call, April 21, 2015

School Funding Crusaders to Appeal Suit to State Supreme Court – Philadelphia Magazine, April 21, 2015

Commonwealth Court refuses to step into school funding fray – Penn Live, April 21, 2015

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court dismisses school funding lawsuit – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 21, 2015

Pa. court throws out challenge to state’s education funding – Associated Press, April 21, 2015

Pa. Court Dismisses Districts’ Challenge to State School Funding System – Education Week, April 21, 2015

Court dismisses Pennsylvania school funding case; plaintiffs to appeal – The Notebook, April 21, 2015

School-funding case dismissed – Philadelphia Inquirer, April 21, 2015

William Penn School District advocates: School funding lawsuit a game changer – Delaware County Times, April 11, 2015

Lynne Abraham would sue Harrisburg to adequately fund city schools – Philadelphia Inquirer, April 2, 2015

Education is more than ‘keeping the doors open – Chestnut Hill Local, March 25, 2015

Court hears oral argument in Pa. school funding lawsuit – The Notebook, March 24, 2015

Editorial: School district suit only way to even field – Delaware County Times, March 17, 2015

Michael Churchill and Sheila Armstrong Interview – WURD, March 16, 2015

School Funding Inequality Makes Education ‘Separate and Unequal,’ Arne Duncan Says – Huffington Post, March 13, 2015

William Penn among districts claiming failures in state school funding – Delaware County Times, March 12, 2015

Court to determine whether school funding case moves forward – Philadelphia Daily News, March 12, 2015

Districts, parents take Pa. government to court over education funding – The Notebook, March 12, 2015

Districts, parents take Pa. government to court over education funding – Newsworks/WHYY, March 12, 2015

Commonwealth Court weighs fate of Pennsylvania school funding lawsuit – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 12, 2015

Public Education Advocates Take Pennsylvania To Court Over School Funding – CBS Philly, March 11, 2015

School districts sue Department of Education over low funding – Fox 43, March 11, 2015

Court panel mulls taking up schools funding case – WITF, March 11, 2015

PA school funding lawsuit lands in catch-22 – The Morning Call, March 11, 2015

School funding lawsuit hinges on whether court will hear it – Penn Live, March 11, 2015

School funding lawsuit is ‘like Groundhog Day’ movie, state officials say – Lancaster Online, March 11, 2015

School-funding system ‘broken,’ Pa. judges hear – Philadelphia Inquirer, March 11, 2015

School-funding case aired in Harrisburg – Philadelphia Inquirer, March 11, 2015

Court to weigh fate of Pennsylvania school funding lawsuit – Associated Press, March 11, 2015

Court to hear first arguments on Pennsylvania school funding lawsuit – Lancaster Online, March 10, 2015

Court to hear school funding case – Republican Herald, February 19, 2015

Residents voice support for funding lawsuit – Chestnut Hill Local, February 11, 2015

Haverford school board lends support to basic ed funding formula – Delaware County News Network, February 5, 2015

Pennsylvania schools sue state in bid to reform funding – Aljazeera America, December 11, 2014

Pennsylvania Plaintiffs File Major New Adequacy and Equity Case – National Education Access Network, November 26, 2014

What’s the deal with school funding reform in Pennsylvania? – Lancaster Online, November 24, 2014

Suit calls state school funding arbitrary and irrational – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 23, 2014

Council acts on veteran-friendly legislation – Philadelphia Tribune, November 21, 2014

Pa. schools funding challenge begins round two – Newsworks, November 16, 2014

Community needs to safeguard educational opportunities – Lancaster Online, November 16, 2014

Groups plan actions as education funding body meets in Philly – The Notebook, November 16, 2014

School funding shouldn’t be ‘accident of geography’ – Lancaster Online, November 16, 2014

Editorial: The hunt for fair education funding formula goes on – Delaware County Daily Times, November 15, 2014

Michael Churchill Interview – The Rick Smith Show, November 13, 2014

Schools, Parents Sue Pennsylvania Over ‘Educational Caste System’ – Common Dreams, November 13, 2014

Pa. education funding’s elephant in the room – Observer-Reporter, November 12, 2014

Wolf’s Challenge: PA ‘One of the Worst’ in Funding Its Schools – Beaver County Blue, November 12, 2014

As of November 11, 2014:

Associated Press (as seen at The Republic): Public school advocates sue Pennsylvania officials over irrational system of state funding

Associated Press (as seen at SF Gate): 5 things to know for Monday in Pennsylvania

CBS Philly/KYW: Lawsuit Filed Against Commonwealth of Pa. Over School Funding

Citizens’ Voice: W-B Area, mother challenge state funding

Education Dive: PA districts sue state over alleged funding inadequacies

Education Week: Pa. Districts, Parents Sue Over ‘Irrational and Inequitable’ School Funding

FOX43: Pa. school districts sue state over funding

Lancaster Online: School District of Lancaster sues state officials over funding system

Metro: Pa. parents sue state for more school funds

Morning Call: Schools suing Pa. Department of Education over funding

NBC8: Education advocates slap state with lawsuit

Newsworks/WHYY: Claiming Pa. shortchanges kids, coalition seeks funding for ‘thorough’ education

Newsworks/WHYY: Lawsuit charges Pennsylvania with failing to provide ‘thorough and efficient’ education

Philadelphia Daily News: Suit claims Corbett failed to provide proper education

Philadelphia Inquirer: School districts, parents, activists sue Pennsylvania over school funding

Philadelphia Magazine: Lawsuit: School Funding in Pennsylvania is Unconstitutional

Philadelphia Magazine: It’s Time for Pennsylvania to Stop Discriminating Against Black Kids

Philadelphia Tribune: Lawsuit challenges state’s public education funding system

Philly.com: Districts, parents sue Pa. over education funding

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Six school districts file suit against Pennsylvania over school funding

Politics of Decline, Redux: Pa. Lawsuit to Shape State Funding Reform

Reuters (as seen at Huffington Post): Pennsylvania School Districts Sue State Over Education Funding

Scranton Times-Tribune: Three NEPA schools challenge funding

The Notebook: Pa. sued for failing to provide fair, ‘thorough and efficient’ school system

We are Central PA: Johnstown School District Sues State

WFMZ69 Allentown: Area school districts suing the state

See other Education Equity Current Cases

 

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