Pa. state system for school funding deemed ‘unconstitutional’

PENNSYLVANIA — A historic ruling was made by a Pennsylvania judge Tuesday, declaring the state’s system for school funding as “unconstitutional.”

The judge found the state has not fulfilled its obligations to the poorest public schools.

The current funding violates students’ rights and students in lower wealth districts are being deprived of the same opportunities and resources as students in wealthier districts, the judge found.

“All of our school leaders and educators have worked so hard for so long to stretch those dollars to provide the best opportunities for our students but its time to right the ship,” said Executive Director Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators Sherri Smith.

“We believe why should a student depending on the zip code they live in be penalized for their right which is education,” said Executive Director Pennsylvania Association for Rural and Small Schools Edward Albert.

The new fair funding could help schools depending on its needs: hiring enough personnel, providing advanced courses, adding resources, enhancing and sustaining programs and services.

“That includes new curriculum new text books technology and upgrading our facilities,” said Aliquippa Superintendent Phillip Woods.

An attorney representing the districts in this case says this decision mandates state leaders to come up with a plan to generate adequate funding.

“The judge was crystal clear that there is not enough funding in the system so the general assembly and the governor are going to have to increase funding and in particular increase it for the low wealth districts who cant afford to do it themselves,” Senior Attorney at Public Interest Law Center Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg said.

An appeal to the state supreme court is possible but Urevick-Ackelsberg says they will fight any attempt to stay the judge’s ruling during appeal.

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