School Funding Lawsuit


Breakthrough! PA House Approves Comprehensive School Funding Plan In Bipartisan Vote

June 10, 2024 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has approved a groundbreaking, comprehensive school funding bill, House Bill 2370, amending the state’s school code. The plan writes into law the robust seven-year funding plan developed by the state’s Basic Education Funding Commission in January 2024 in response to Commonwealth Court’s landmark 2023 ruling.

The bill was approved on Monday afternoon by a bipartisan vote of 107-94, winning the support of all Democrats who voted as well as 5 Republicans.

The bill is the House response to the court order requiring state officials to craft a new constitutional school funding system that ensures all students access to a “comprehensive, effective, and contemporary public education” and does not discriminate against students in low-wealth communities.

The legislation commits the state to raise funding levels for 367 underfunded districts over seven years by $5.1 billion to fill adequacy gaps, and it provides $1 billion in financial relief over the same period to communities that have shouldered a heavy local tax burden due to state underfunding. It also includes reforms to the portion of the school code covering cyber charter schools.

See how much additional funding each Pennsylvania school district would receive here.

“We applaud members of the House for adopting this breakthrough legislation. Pennsylvania students have waited decades for such decisive action,” said Education Law Center legal director Maura McInerney. “This bill is a transformative long-term plan to finally close the state’s glaring, unconstitutional resource gaps. It creates meaningful, new opportunities for our children and their futures by substantially increasing state funding to underfunded districts each year for seven years.”

“We are headed towards a before and after moment for the children of Pennsylvania.”

“We are headed towards a before and after moment for the children of Pennsylvania,” said Public Interest Law Center senior attorney Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg. “The most unfair school funding system in the nation will be no more, as thousands of new teachers, counselors, librarians, and school nurses deliver what every child deserves: the opportunity to thrive. We urge the Senate to promptly pass this bill.”

HB 2370 won passage in the House Education Committee on June 4. With passage in the full House, it now goes to the Senate for consideration. The House and Senate are required by law to agree on a budget for 2024-25 by June 30, and updates to the school code typically are a part of the budget process.

Gov. Josh Shapiro has endorsed the plan, and his proposed 2024-25 budget includes a $1.1 billion basic education funding increase that is aligned with the first-year plan in HB 2370.

Additional comments on the House vote from petitioners in the successful Pennsylvania School Funding Lawsuit

“Unconstitutional underfunding means that educators in Shenandoah Valley create collateral damage, shifting scarce resources to some students who need them at the expense of others,” said Brian Waite, superintendent of Shenandoah Valley School District. “Today’s plan would give us the support to provide a public education that lives up to all our students’ amazing potential. I applaud the House of Representatives, and I hope the Senate will join them soon. Our kids are worth it.”

“Today’s plan would give us the support to provide a public education that lives up to all our students’ amazing potential. I applaud the House of Representatives, and I hope the Senate will join them soon. Our kids are worth it.”

“Today, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives stepped up to lead with a public school funding plan that lives up to the promise of our constitution,” said Dr. Keith Miles, superintendent of the School District of Lancaster. “This long-term plan will fill school funding gaps that have grown for decades in communities like Lancaster, where students who need more support often get less because of insufficient local wealth. Now, this bill must become law. Our future depends on it.”

“Thank you, representatives, for passing a plan that will help public schools meet the needs of all their students,” said Dr. Amy Arcurio, superintendent of Greater Johnstown School District. “This sustained, predictable funding would be transformative. For the first time in many years, Greater Johnstown and districts like it could make decisions based on what our kids need so they can build the future of Pennsylvania, not what our communities can afford.”

“I applaud today’s historic plan for Pennsylvania public school funding,” said Dr. Brian Costello, superintendent of Wilkes-Barre Area School District. “I am especially proud that Luzerne County representatives showed that helping children realize their potential is something both parties can agree on. There’s no limit to what young people in places like Wilkes-Barre can achieve when we provide the resources they need—and this is a groundbreaking long-term plan to make that happen. Invest in our students, and let them show us what they can do.”

“Today’s bill, if it becomes law, could be transformative to my students and my Panther Valley community,” said Dr. David McAndrew, superintendent of Panther Valley School District. “Our local taxpayers try as hard as they can to support our schools, but because we are not wealthy, our kids are still going without the teachers, technology and support they need. Today’s plan is a serious proposal to fix it. Seven years is too long to wait, but if we see this plan through, it will provide the meaningful opportunity, regardless of wealth, that our students deserve. Every Senator needs to join in to get this passed.”

“Today, members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives showed that they take their constitutional duty to our students seriously,” said Dr. Eric Becoats, superintendent of William Penn School District. “For too long, William Penn educators and students have had to ‘do more with less:’ less counseling, less remedial support, and opportunities that are less than any child deserves. But kids shouldn’t have to ‘do more with less.’ They should have what they need. This plan would deliver it.”

“This bill is a win for rural communities across Pennsylvania who depend on sufficient, sustained and predictable state funding for public schools,” said Ed Albert, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools. “I applaud the House of Representatives for passing a plan that serves all public school students and lifts every community up, rather than pitting them against each other to fight for a bigger slice of a pie that’s too small.”

“Today could be the start of a new and just future for public school funding in Pennsylvania,” said Stacey Taylor, president of the NAACP Pennsylvania state conference. “Black students and students of color have borne the brunt of Pennsylvania’s unconstitutional and inequitable public school funding system, and they are more likely to be educated in schools that have been deeply shortchanged. Today’s plan to base public school funding on student need, not local wealth, could begin to right this deep wrong.”