The City of Philadelphia filed a “friend of the court” brief on February 16, 2016, in support of our ongoing lawsuit against state officials over the Commonwealth’s broken system of school funding.
Through this amicus brief, the City joins six school districts, parents and associations from across the state in asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to send the case back to Commonwealth Court for a full trial on whether or not the state legislature has violated its constitutional responsibility to maintain and support “a thorough and efficient system of public education.” The brief details how the state’s current funding scheme creates gross disparities between school districts in low and high wealth areas and fails to support poorer school districts like Philadelphia, which have less capacity to raise local revenue.
As the budget impasse continues into its eighth month with no end in sight, this suit is more important than ever to ensure Pennsylvania’s students have long-term access to the high-quality public education they need to become engaged citizens. We are grateful to the City and Solicitor Sozi P. Tulante for sharing with the Court the stories of the harm faced by Philadelphia students, and for giving voice to the concerns of hundreds of thousands of students from urban, rural, suburban, large districts throughout Pennsylvania.
“The degree to which the School District is being underfunded by the state is even worse than the numbers suggest because of the District’s high percentage of needy students,” Solicitor Tulante said. “Only this Court’s intervention can provide Philadelphia’s children with the education funding they deserve from the state.”
“The harm to Philadelphia’s children described by the city’s brief is being repeated throughout the Commonwealth in districts large and small, rural, suburban and urban,” said Jennifer Clarke, Executive Director of the Public Interest Law Center. “We are grateful to the City for bringing these facts to the Court.”