Waxman celebrates Commonwealth Court ruling on state education funding

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 8 – State Rep. Ben Waxman, D-Phila., issued a statement in response to the Feb. 7 decision by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court on William Penn School District v. Pennsylvania Department of Education.

“One of the duties outlined in the Pennsylvania Constitution is that every student receive a meaningful education that allows them to succeed academically, socially and civically,” Waxman said. “This Commonwealth Court ruling gives power back to the students and educational institutions. All children deserve a fair and equitable education, and Pennsylvania Democrats have been at the forefront in fighting to resolve the education funding disparity for decades. I continue to call for fair and equitable education, and I hope that more of our education dollars can flow through the new funding formula to better every district across the Commonwealth, not only the wealthy few.”

Commonwealth Court Judge Renee Cohn Jubilerer ruled that Pennsylvania schools don’t have the resources to adequately educate all students, and the gaps between richer and poorer school districts has rendered the system unconstitutional. Waxman said this decision is a landmark case that could reshape education throughout the state.

The Public Interest Law Center and the Education Law Center, which helped represent the William Penn School District, hailed the decision as a “historic victory for students” that could “change the future for millions of families.”

In order to comply with the Pennsylvania Constitution, the state must provide the resources necessary for all students to access a “comprehensive, effective, and contemporary” system of public education. According to whyy.org, the commonwealth provides only a third of public school funding, and could be underfunding districts by as much as $4.6 billion.

With a majority of districts’ funding coming from local property taxes, school funding can vary widely based on the wealth of a community.

More information is available by contacting Waxman’s office.