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Group asks state Supreme Court to hear school funding case

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Several school districts, parents, and groups have taken a lawsuit alleging Pennsylvania’s school funding system to be unconstitutional to the state Supreme Court.

An appeal filed Wednesday by the plaintiffs seeks to force the state’s highest court to hear a case dismissed last month by Commonwealth Court. In that decision, the court ruled, as it has in prior lawsuits, that the question of school funding and what level of it is constitutional is a matter for the state legislature to decide.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs have argued that recent legislative actions creating academic benchmarks and requirements, as well as a comprehensive "costing-out" study that determined what school districts should spend to provide an adequate education, make this case more likely to be heard by the court.

“It is time for our courts to recognize the substantial developments that have taken place since previous lawsuits were heard and ensure that the legislature complies with its constitutional duty to provide a thorough and efficient system of public education," said Maura McInerney of the Education Law Center, in a statement. "Pennsylvania’s public school students are entitled to their day in court.”

The Public Interest Law Center and the Education Law Center PA are representing the plaintiffs.

The original case was filed in November by seven parents, the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools, the Pennsylvania chapter of the NAACP, and six school districts: William Penn, Panther Valley, Lancaster, Greater Johnstown, Wilkes-Barre, and Shenandoah Valley.

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