CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – After a months-long trial, a ruling has come down from a commonwealth court that could change the way your child’s public school is funded.
The nearly 800 page ruling comes after a months-long trial that resulted in the court finding Pennsylvania children have a constitutional right to a public education.
Under Pennsylvania’s current system, the court ruled those children’s rights are being violated.
The judge also says the evidence shows disparities in education quality. That disparity may depend on where students live as funding is tied to local tax revenue.
The court found students in less wealthy areas are less likely to have the resources they need. This includes the Greater Johnstown School District, which was one of the plaintiffs in the case.
Superintendent Doctor Amy Arcurio says the ruling will help her students, especially those who come from lower-income families, get the best education possible.
“The fair funding trial was really an opportunity for districts like mine to tell our story and how the lack of funding impacts the success of our children on a daily basis,” Arcurio said. “The court ruling yesterday is what I would call a giant leap as the first step to the process that we have been fighting for, and really preparing for, for about 8 years.”
In a statement, House Republicans called the decision “Disappointing, but not surprising.”
“The problems existing in our public education system go well beyond funding,” Leader Bryan Cutler said.
“Many of our public schools often lack real accountability and have become captured by special interests and bureaucrats who put their needs above that of the students,” Cutler added.
Arcurio says that the next step in the process is patience. As the court say it’s now up to the legislature, governors and educators to fix the system.
Get daily updates on local news, weather and sports by signing up for the WTAJ Newsletter
The following school districts and associations were plaintiffs in the lawsuit:
- William Penn School District
- Panther Valley School District
- The School District of Lancaster
- Greater Johnstown School District
- Wilkes-Barre Area School District
- Shenandoah Valley School District
- Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools
- The National Association for the Advancement of Colored: People-Pennsylvania State Conference
- As well as three parents of Pennsylvania students.