Landmark PA School Funding Case May Spur — or Chill — Similar Suits Nationwide


Publish Date:
July 28, 2022
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William S. Koski, a professor at Stanford University’s law school and graduate school of education, said the case is important for three critical reasons, starting with the groundbreaking ruling that allowed it to reach trial.

For years, he said, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that questions of school finance should be determined only by the Legislature. But 2017 brought about a major reversal — a critical win for the plaintiffs.

“In 2017, the state Supreme Court said … there is some manageable way for a court to get its arms around whether kids in Pennsylvania are getting an adequate education,” he said.

Add to that, Pennsylvania has a large and diverse student body spread across urban, suburban and rural communities, making the outcome relevant in many other states, he said.

Lastly, the trial itself, he said, “was fully and thoughtfully litigated with some of the premier experts testifying on both sides,” allowing the court — and the nation — to consider the full scope of the issue.

Judge Jubelirer’s decision will come after big losses for plaintiffs on this same issue in California and Colorado and victories in Kansas, New Mexico and Washington state, although the legislatures in all three dragged their heels in implementing the courts’ orders, Koski said.

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