A Pennsylvania judge ruled the state’s system of funding public schools falls woefully short and violates students’ constitutional rights, siding with poorer districts in a lawsuit launched nearly a decade ago in pursuit of billions of dollars in additional annual aid.
Commonwealth Court Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer found that the state hasn’t fulfilled its constitutional obligations to students in the poorest school districts, writing in a nearly 800-page ruling that the state is violating those students’ rights to what should be a “comprehensive, effective, and contemporary” education.
The Public Interest Law Center and the Education Law Center, which represented the plaintiffs, hailed the decision as “a historic victory for students.”
“This is an earthquake that will reverberate for the children of Pennsylvania for a long, long, long time,” said Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg, a senior attorney at the Public Interest Law Center.
Acting Attorney General Michelle Henry gave this statement regarding the decision from Commonwealth Court:
“When our Office filed an amicus brief last spring in support of the lawsuit challenging the Commonwealth’s school funding formula, we argued that the Pennsylvania Constitution demands that every child should have access to high-quality public education regardless of their zip code and that the system as it exists fails to meet that standard. Our Office is still in the process of thoroughly reviewing the Court’s opinion, but we were gratified to learn today that the Court agreed with our position, paving the way for Pennsylvania lawmakers to come together to create a new system that works for all children and families.”
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