HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court President Judge Renée Cohn Jubelirer ruled that Pennsylvania does not adequately or equitably fund public education.
The nearly 800 page ruling comes after a months-long trial that resulted in the court finding Pennsylvania children have a constitutional right to a public education.
Under Pennsylvania’s current system, the court ruled those children’s rights are being violated.
Jubelirer said the evidence brought before them shows deep disparities in education quality depending on where students live. Because funding is tied closely to local tax revenue, the court found students in lower-wealth areas were less likely to have the resources they need to succeed.
The opinion from Jubelirer says it’s up to Pennsylvania’s legislature, Governor Josh Shapiro, and educators to fix the education system
“All witnesses agree that every child can learn. It is now the obligation of the Legislature, Executive Branch, and educators, to make the constitutional promise a reality in this Commonwealth,” said Jubelirer.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit were the 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; Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools; The National Association for the Advancement of Colored: People-Pennsylvania State Conference; and three parents of Pennsylvania students.
The defendants named included the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania House and Senate leadership, Governor Shapiro, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, and Acting Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid Mumin.
“Today’s historic victory affirms what students and educators in Pennsylvania have long known: Pennsylvania’s system of funding public education is failing to meet the needs of every student and is unconstitutional,” said Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa. “This is an enormous step towards ensuring that every single young person, of every race, class, and ZIP code, receives a fully-funded public school experience, including well-compensated educators and ample learning resources.”
This is a developing story