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Lancaster Online: Why Pennsylvania’s School Funding System Is on Trial

November 05, 2021

A trial between the state of Pennsylvania and six school districts, two statewide organizations, and several parents is set to begin this month to determine whether Pennsylvania’s public school funding system meets state constitutional standards. According to a benchmark written in state law, 86% of students in the state attend schools that are “ill-equipped to offer them a 21st century education.” According to an analysis by Kelly, 428 of the 500 school districts in the state have an adequacy gap, which is the difference between the funds that the district raises and the state’s benchmark for what funds they allocate to the districts to meet state education standards. The total shortfall is at least US$4.6 billion and over 20 districts have shortfalls exceeding US$5,000 per student. The state contributes 38% of the costs needed for K-12 education whereas the national average is 47%. O’Melveny & Myers LLP along with the Education Law Center and the Public Interest Law Center represent petitioners in Pennsylvania’s funding lawsuit.

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