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PA governor candidate Josh Shapiro, Democrat, calls for more and fairer school funding

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PA governor candidate Josh Shapiro, Democrat, calls for more and fairer school funding

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Monday filed a Mikus Brigade at a state landmark a lawsuit for school funding supporting the plaintiffs’ assertion that the General Assembly violates the state constitution by not giving more money to school districts and distributing them more fairly.

Shapiro, who ran on Tuesday without opposition from Democratic candidates for governor, says the constitution gives students a “fundamental right” to quality education no matter where they live. The constitution states that the General Assembly should “ensure the maintenance and support of a thorough and effective education system to meet the needs of the Commonwealth.”

By allowing the state to maintain a system in which some counties spend more than twice as much per student as others, and in which most students in need receive less support, the General Assembly has “failed to meet its obligations,” Shapiro said. said.

“The evidence presented in court shows that the resources of the Applicant and Philadelphia schools are insufficient,” Shapiro said. in his resume. “This shows that educational outcomes in these areas are much worse than in other areas of the Commonwealth, and in themselves inadequate.”

Plaintiffs in the case, William Penn School District et al. v. Department of Education, Pennsylvania et al., include six school districts, several families and two state-wide advocacy groups. They argue that the support they receive from the state is insufficient to provide quality education to their students.

Philadelphia is not a plaintiff – it was under state control when the plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in 2014 – but the superintendent William Height and chief financial officer Uri Monson testified before Commonwealth Court Judge Rene Cohn Jubelirer that district schools lack the necessary resources.

In his report, Shapiro said that “the most fundamental need of the Commonwealth is smart and informed citizens who will support our democratic institutions, develop our economy and strengthen the foundations of our common civic life.”

Shapiro was one of six friend statements filed Monday on behalf of the plaintiffs.

Professors of constitutional law from the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Temple University, Pennsylvania, and the University of Pittsburgh said in a brief note this legal precedent makes it clear that “the school funding scheme, which relies heavily on the wealth of the local school district to determine the funding available for student learning, provides for fundamental rights”.

While states pay about half of total tuition costs on average, in Pennsylvania that figure is about 38%.

Meanwhile in Fr. separate summary reportVarious businesses, groups such as the League of Women Voters, and several scholars have stated that “high-quality education remains out of reach for many of our students,” and as a result Pennsylvania has failed in its mission to ensure all students are ready to college and career ”.

“Indeed, the evidence that many school districts in the Commonwealth are insufficient [and] that schools with colored students and students in dire economic straits suffer disproportionately, ”the groups said in a report.

And advocacy groups, ranging from children to the State School Nurses Association in their own brief that, “Based on our experience, the deprivations experienced by students in this state have only become more entrenched over the decades.”

Jubilerer listened to the testimony for four months, and now the case is in the post-trial stage. Further oral hearings are scheduled for July 26, and Jubeliere may make a decision as early as the fall.

Among the accused – the legislative and executive branches of government – only the heads of the republican legislatures are actively defending the system of public funding. They claim the system meets basic constitutional standards, and that in any case the decision on funding should be made by the legislature, not the courts. They also offer school choices in the form of more charters as a solution to educational inequality.

Commonwealth Foundation filed an application supporting his position, stating that poor areas of Pennsylvania spend more per student than the national average.

Gov. Tom Wolfe, a Democrat, is technically a defendant but has not challenged the plaintiffs’ case. The upcoming gubernatorial election between Shapiro and the Republican candidate could have big implications for the cause, although school funding has not been a campaign issue. Many of the plaintiff counties are in poor rural areas that strongly support Republicans but must a large tax from its inhabitants to raise enough money to fund schools.

A clause in the education constitution is a “positive mandate that no legislature can ignore,” Shapiro said in his report. “However, the General Assembly did just that. Despite the best efforts of dedicated teachers and administrators of the Commonwealth, many Pennsylvania schools are unable to provide the level of education required by the Constitution – not because of lack of effort, but because of lack of adequate funding.

Dale Mezzakopa is a senior writer at Chalkbeat Philadelphia, where she covers K-12 schools and preschool education in Philadelphia. Contact Dale at dmezzacappa@chalkbeat.org.

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