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Pa. school funding case update

  • Scott LaMar
Students carry sack lunches as they walk through a hall, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, at Elk Ridge Elementary School in Buckley, Wash.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Students carry sack lunches as they walk through a hall, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, at Elk Ridge Elementary School in Buckley, Wash.

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Airdate: Friday, December 10, 2021

Seven years ago, a group of school districts, parents and advocates sued Pennsylvania over how it funds public schools. The case centers on wide spending gaps among the state’s poorest and wealthiest school districts.

The plaintiffs — six school districts, four parents, and two statewide organizations — argue state funding for schools is inadequate, inequitable, and illegal.

They say Pennsylvania is violating the state constitution’s education clause, which requires lawmakers to “provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education,” as well as its equal protection clause.

Lawyers defending the state counter that Pennsylvania ranks near the top, nationally, in the amount of money it spends per student, and that the state is now spending about $2 billion more on public education per year than it did when the lawsuit was first filed.

Friday’s Smart Talk studies the status of the court case with our guests Mallory Falk, WHYY Philadelphia education reporter, Brenda Marrero, Executive Director, Public Interest Law Center and Deborah Gordon-Klehr, Executive Director, Education Law Center – Pennsylvania.

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