Friday, May 27, 2022

Play

High gas prices are not slowing down Memorial Day travel, early voting starts tomorrow in Nevada, and Oregon activists seek accountability for dioxin contamination in low-income Eugene.

Play

Education Secretary Cardona calls for action in after the Texas massacre, Republicans block a domestic terrorism vote, and Secretary of State Blinken calls China the greatest challenger to the U.S. and its allies.

Play

High-speed internet is being used to entice remote workers to rural communities, Georgia is offering Black women participation in a guaranteed income initiative, and under-resourced students in Montana get a boost toward graduation.

School Funding Lawsuit Goes to State Supreme Court

Play

Tuesday, September 22, 2015   

HARRISBURG, Pa. – A lawsuit challenging state funding for public education is going to Pennsylvania's highest court.

According to a coalition of parents, school districts and statewide organizations, the Pennsylvania Legislature has failed to meet its constitutional obligation to adequately and equitably fund public schools.

Jennifer Clarke, executive director of the Philadelphia-based Public Interest Law Center, says all schools are affected by decades of under-funding, although poorer communities have suffered the most.

"'Catastrophic' is too mild a word," says Clarke. "You have children in classrooms with 70 kids, schools with no foreign languages, no nurses."

Last April, a lower court dismissed the lawsuit, saying it was a political issue that cannot be addressed through the court system.

Clarke says that opinion was based on a Supreme Court ruling 15 years ago, before there was a system of statewide standards. Now, both state and federal governments mandate what the content of public education should be – and how to measure the results.

"We still think that the courts have a role," she says. "If the Legislature is going to establish content and require children to know it, it needs to fund it in a way that makes sense."

The plaintiffs in the case maintain that an over-reliance on property taxes to fund schools deprives students in poor districts of the resources they need to meet state academic standards.

Clarke notes the state constitution guarantees all Pennsylvania children a system of public education that is "thorough and efficient."

"Those words are in the constitutions of some half a dozen other states," she says. "All those courts have used that language to say they have substantive meaning that the court has to enforce."

The Legislature, governor, and state Board of Education have six weeks to respond to the Supreme Court brief. The court will likely hear arguments sometime next year.


get more stories like this via email

Early voting locations will be open across Nevada for several weeks, from May 28 through June 10. (Jlmcanally/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The Nevada primary election is June 14, and early voting starts tomorrow and runs through June 10. Mail balloting is now permanent, so every active …


Social Issues

Democrats in the Florida Legislature are reviving calls for stricter gun-control laws, following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Florida's …

Environment

This week, in honor of World Otter Day, conservation groups are looking to raise awareness about efforts to restore sea otters along more areas of …


There's been a roughly 38% drop in drowning deaths over the past two decades. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

With the unofficial start to summer, pools around Ohio are opening this Memorial Day weekend, and when it comes to swim time, experts encourage …

Environment

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of water recreation season, and before putting on a swimsuit, Iowa environmental experts say being mindful …

A 2019 report from the Economic Policy Institute found teacher shortages were especially acute in higher-poverty schools. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

As the nation processes the horrific shooting in Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were killed, teachers' unions across Illinois and America …

Social Issues

The cost of heading out of town this Memorial Day weekend will be higher than past years, with higher gas prices and inflation hitting travelers…

Health and Wellness

One of Connecticut's largest health systems launched a new resource in Hartford this month, aimed at helping patients access healthy and nutritious …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021