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Debate Heats Up In Philly: Should School Funding Should Be Decided In The Courts

By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The state Supreme Court is deciding whether a lawsuit over Pennsylvania school funding can proceed, after hearing arguments today in Philadelphia.

The high court heard an appeal by education advocates whose suit claimed the state had failed its constitutional responsibility to maintain a thorough and efficient system of education. Commonwealth Court last year denied the suit, saying school funding was a political issue — not a legal one. The issue for appeal: Should the case get a full trial in Commonwealth Court?

Michael Churchill is an attorney with the Public Interest Law Center, which is co-representing the plaintiffs. He says yes.

“Because it is a fundamental duty of courts to decide whether the constitution is being complied with.”

Crowd outside the PA Supreme Court courtroom at City Hall (credit: Mike DeNardo)

Crowd outside the PA Supreme Court courtroom at City Hall (credit: Mike DeNardo)

Now, Governor Wolf and the Legislature don’t agree on much but they agree on this: The responsibility to budget money for schools is a political one, not one that should be mandated by the courts.

“The Constitution explicitly lays out that when it comes to education funding, it’s the governor and the General Assembly,” said the governor’s spokesman, Jeff Sheridan. “And the Governor just does not believe that the court has a role in deciding that.”

The seven justices heard arguments for an hour and 15 minutes and now they’ll decide whether the case should be allowed to proceed.

More from Mike DeNardo

One Comment

  1. Hank Maglio says:

    why should retired people have to pay school tax,,,or property tax,,,,that should stop for people who retired and they paid over 20 years of owning a home, for school tax…..time for a change,,,,now if they retired, and just bought a home,,,never owned a home before,, then they should pay property tax,,,,,reitred people who owned a home for more then 20 years , shouldn’t have to pay anymore,,,,,,,,,,

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