Photo via Philadelphia Inquirer
School funding advocates in Pennsylvania are taking the state to court over its inability to adequately and fairly fund public schools across the state. In November, Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP) and Education Law Center – PA filed a lawsuit charging that the state's current funding system is not only inadequate but also unconstitutional because it fails to "provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education."
The lawsuit has been a long time in coming – Philadelphia, in particular, has teetered on the edge financially in recent years after a waves of budget cuts during the Recession. Philly students and teachers know all too well the consequences of those cuts: school closings, lack of basic supplies like paper and textbooks, and fewer guidance counselors, assistant principals, librarians and even school nurses.
From Education Voters PA:
"We know Pennsylvania’s funding system is broken. Fair school funding relies on two basic pillars: adequacy, which means that there is enough money to give all children the instruction and support they need to learn and equity, which means that they system distributes money is such a way as to give all children equal access to opportunities.
Pennsylvania’s system is neither adequate, nor equitable; thorough, nor efficient.
These problems existed prior to the budget cuts in recent years, although those cuts have highlighted the starkness of how thin the margins are for some districts, and the breadth of the problem – how many districts are challenged because of Pennsylvania’s flawed system of funding. It is also true that our funding system has a racial bias."
Read more about the new lawsuit here.