Pennsylvania Schools Fail Students' Right to Good Education, Lawsuit Says - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Pennsylvania Schools Fail Students' Right to Good Education, Lawsuit Says



    New Property Tax Hike Proposal

    Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney asked City Council on Thursday to pass a 6-percent increase in property taxes to help erase a nearly $1 billion budget deficit projected for the city's public schools over the next five years.

    (Published Thursday, March 1, 2018)

    Pennsylvania school districts, parents and activists have argued before a panel of judges that the state has failed in its constitutional duty to provide students an adequate education.

    A long-running lawsuit over how schools are funded, which was dismissed and then revived last year, was argued in Commonwealth Court on Wednesday.

    Attorneys for the governor, education officials and top lawmakers argue that the state is fulfilling its duties and that the lawsuit raises political questions that courts shouldn't answer.

    "There is no dispute that all Pennsylvania public school students deserve a high -quality education and access to educational resources necessary to be successful in the 21' century," a brief filed by Gov. Tom Wolf said. "The work to increase funding for public schools is not over."

    The case was filed before Wolf took office, but it has fallen to the current governor to address the ongoing lawsuit. Wolf has supported Philadelphia regaining control of its school district. 

    "He has been steadfast in fighting for more and fairer education funding since day one," a spokesperson for the governor said. 

    Judges also questioned their ability to determine what an adequate education would be, which was the reason for the previous dismissal of the suit.

    But a lawyer for the plaintiffs said students in districts that can't afford textbooks are less well-off than those in wealthier areas.