Harrisburg – July 25, 2023 – State Sen. Jim Brewster today called on lawmakers to return to Harrisburg to address a now-final court ruling that Pennsylvania’s education funding system is unconstitutional, unfair and inequitable.
“Since the deadline to file an appeal to the Commonwealth Court’s February ruling passed over the weekend, that ruling is now final and presents an opportunity for us to work together to fairly fund education and comply with the judge’s order,” Brewster said.
In her 800-page decision from February, Commonwealth Court President Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer detailed the shortcomings of the current system that has created the most dramatic and draconian inequity in the nation.
“Commonwealth Court could not have been more direct in exposing that our education funding system ‘clearly, palpably, and plainly’ violates the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Education Clause,” Brewster said. “Every member of the General Assembly has taken an oath to defend the constitution and that means nothing less than sweeping reform that will end generations of inequity and lost opportunity.”
“Petitioners satisfied their burden of establishing the Education Clause was clearly, palpably, and plainly violated because of a failure to provide all students with access to a comprehensive, effective, and contemporary system of public education that will give them a meaningful opportunity to succeed academically, socially, and civically,” the judge wrote.
Brewster says that the court’s ruling is a call to action for lawmakers to create a thorough and efficient system of public education without putting more burden on Pennsylvania’s taxpayers.
“The state must come up with more to fairly fund our public schools so that taxpayers do not see increases in their property taxes,” Brewster said.
Brewster, who has become known as an advocate for public education during his time on the Senate Education Committee and the state’s School Safety and Security Committee, said the ruling gives lawmakers an opportunity to create a plan to ensure every school district has enough staff, a modern education curriculum and safe school buildings.”
“Pennsylvania is in a sound financial position and there is opportunity to do what we are sworn to do,” Brewster said. “It is time for us to return to Harrisburg to get this done.”
The Court’s entire ruling from February can be read here.