Merski, Harkins laud school fair funding decision

ERIE, Feb. 8 – State Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, issued the following statements in response to Tuesday’s landmark decision by Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Renée Cohn Jubelirer declaring Pennsylvania’s public school funding system unconstitutional.

“Tuesday’s decision promises to be a game changer for public school funding in Pennsylvania,” Merski said. “I saw firsthand the inequity from district to district in my two decades in education. For years, our state system underfunded school districts, forcing local property owners to pick up the tab. 

“Affluent areas and growing communities paid the difference for quality schools, but it left thousands of students in landlocked and less affluent districts like Iroquois and Erie at a huge disadvantage. This week’s ruling declaring the state funding system unconstitutional is a mandate to provide equity across the entire system – and a huge victory for families and students across Pennsylvania.”

Harkins said, “Education is supposed to be the great equalizer, but for years, Erie students and families have known a very different reality, thanks to a system that has left our public schools grossly underfunded and our taxpayers footing the bill for that broken system.

“Tuesday’s decision opens the door to change all that. Now, we take up the gauntlet and start clearing the way for meaningful change.”