June 21, 2023 – Today, Commonwealth Court President Judge Renée Cohn Jubelirer again ruled in favor of petitioners in Pennsylvania’s school funding lawsuit, denying a motion for post-trial relief filed in February by Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward and House Minority Leader Bryan Cutler.
Senate President Ward and Minority Leader Cutler have not yet announced whether or not they intend to appeal the decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. By law, an appeal would have to be filed within 30 days of today’s ruling.
The motion for post-trial relief challenged the Court’s Feb. 7 landmark decision that the state’s system for funding public education is unconstitutional and asserted that the Court committed errors in its ruling.
In today’s opinion, President Judge Cohn Jubelirer held that “the Court discerns no reversible error” and entered judgment in favor of petitioners.
The opinion directed state officials to act to bring Pennsylvania’s public school funding system into compliance with the state constitution: “This Court now tasks Respondents with the challenge of delivering a system of public education that the Pennsylvania Constitution requires – one that provides for every student to receive a meaningful opportunity to succeed academically, socially, and civically, which requires that all students have access to a comprehensive, effective, and contemporary system of public education,” the opinion reads (emphasis added).
Joint statement from Education Law Center – PA, the Public Interest Law Center, and O’Melveny:
We are heartened by today’s opinion and call on state lawmakers to craft a responsive, effective, and constitutional remedy without any further delay. We look forward to building a new public school funding system that will meet the needs of all students regardless of zip code or community wealth, providing every student in Pennsylvania public schools a meaningful opportunity to succeed. Our schoolchildren cannot wait any longer. The work must start now, with significant new investments for underfunded public schools in low-wealth communities in this year’s state budget.