Pennsylvania’s constitution states that the General Assembly must “provide a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.” Instead, the state has adopted an irrational and inequitable system of funding public education that does not provide the resources students need to meet state standards and discriminates against students based on where they live and the wealth of their local communities.
Together with the Education Law Center and O’Melveny & Myers LLP, we filed suit on behalf of six school districts, seven parents, the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS) and the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference against legislative leaders, state education officials, and the Governor. We are asking for a court order that will force the legislature to comply with the state constitution and ensure all students receive access to a high-quality public education.
On February 7, 2023, in a historic victory for Pennsylvania’s public school students,
Commonwealth Court ruled that Pennsylvania’s school funding system is unconstitutional and must be reformed. Legislative leaders did not appeal this decision by the July 21, 2023 deadline–and the decision is now final.
There is no excuse for state lawmakers to delay action any further. It is time for our leaders in Harrisburg to work together to comply with the court’s ruling and fulfill their duty to deliver that constitutional system of public education.
786-page decision, the court found that “All witnesses agree that every child can learn. It is now the obligation of the Legislature, Executive Branch, and educators, to make the constitutional promise a reality in this Commonwealth.”
Along with the Education Law Center, we have launched a new website and newsletter,
Fund Our Schools PA, where we will share regular updates on the case, daily recaps of court testimony during the four-month trial, stories and data on the effects of state education underfunding in Pennsylvania, and ways for advocates to get involved. Visit FundOurSchoolsPA.org. Thorough and Efficient?
This fall, we’re taking the Pennsylvania General Assembly to court (2021)
Pennsylvanians Speak Out: The Schools All Students Deserve (2021) [part of a series; visit the
Fund Our Schools PA YouTube page]
VIDEO Case Resources
September 13, 2023
Superintendents And Attorneys In The School Funding Lawsuit Testified To The Basic Education Funding Commission
September 12, 2023
The Basic Education Funding Commission: How You Can Help Make Fair School Funding A Reality
September 12, 2023
New analysis finds Pennsylvania schools are underfunded by $6.2 billion, including basic and special education, with shortfalls concentrated in poorest districts
July 24, 2023
Legislative leaders will not appeal to the PA Supreme Court in the school funding case
July 6, 2023
Our statement on the 2023-24 Pennsylvania Budget
June 21, 2023
Commonwealth Court Denies Legislative Leaders’ Motion For Post-Trial Relief In School Funding Case; Clock For Possible Appeal Starts Now
March 7, 2023
Our statement on Gov. Shapiro's PA budget address
February 7, 2023
Pennsylvania's School Funding System Declared Unconstitutional in Historic Victory for Students
July 26, 2022
Post-Trial Oral Argument: In Court, A Clash Of Views On What Education System PA’s Constitution Requires
March 10, 2022
'It's Time To Keep That Promise:' Closing Arguments, March 10
February 26, 2022
Recapping week 13 of the Pennsylvania school funding trial: closing arguments are scheduled for March 10 after witness testimony concludes
February 19, 2022
Recapping week 12 of the Pennsylvania school funding trial: legislative leaders conclude their case, calling several expert witnesses and one more cyber charter leader.
February 12, 2022
Recapping week 11 of the Pennsylvania school funding trial: legislative leaders continue their, withdrawing one witness after accusations of plagiarism. The CEO of PA's largest cyber charter testifies, along with Jason Willis, a WestEd researcher.
February 5, 2022
Recapping week ten of the Pennsylvania school funding trial: legislative leaders begin their case defending Pennsylvania's current system of school funding
January 29, 2022
Recapping week nine of the Pennsylvania school funding trial: petitioners call their final witnesses, from Wilkes-Barre Area SD, the SD of Springfield Township, and the SD of Philadelphia
January 22, 2022
Recapping week eight of the Pennsylvania school funding trial: leading economists and the PA Secretary of Education
January 15, 2022
Recapping week seven of the Pennsylvania school funding trial: William Penn School District and the School District of Philadelphia
January 8, 2022
Recapping week six of the Pennsylvania school funding trial: William Penn School District
December 23, 2021
Recapping week five of the Pennsylvania school funding lawsuit: Lancaster, PARSS, William Penn SD
December 18, 2021
Recapping week four of the Pennsylvania school funding trial: early childhood education and the School District of Lancaster
December 11, 2021
Recapping week three of the Pennsylvania school funding trial: Greater Johnstown and Shenandoah Valley School Districts.
December 4, 2021
Recapping week two of the Pennsylvania school funding trial: the former top K-12 official in PA, and Greater Johnstown.
November 20, 2021
Recapping week one of the Pennsylvania school funding trial: Panther Valley School District, school finance, and the history of the PA constitution's education clause
November 18, 2021
What are school districts and parents asking for in the lawsuit?
November 12, 2021
Students' Day In Court Begins: Opening Statements, November 12
November 4, 2021
Trial in the PA school funding lawsuit begins November 12. Here's what you need to know.
September 17, 2021
New trial date--November 12--scheduled.
August 18, 2021
Trial now set to begin October 12. The one-month shift in start date allows for updating of petitioner testimony.
July 24, 2021
Michael Churchill: School funding lawsuit could help students across Pa. get what they need
Judge In Commonwealth Court PA School Funding Case Rules To Allow Evidence About Racial Impact Of Underfunding
Our statement on the 2021-2022 Pennsylvania state budget
Scheduling Order: Trial in Pennsylvania School Funding Lawsuit Will Begin September 9 in Harrisburg
Trial in Pennsylvania School Funding Lawsuit on Track to Begin in September
We release a statement following Governor Tom Wolf's historic proposal to boost school funding by $1.55 billion
Our expert report calculates that PA schools are underfunded by $4.6 billion, according to state law
A new order granting an extension in the case schedules fact discovery to conclude by July 16 and expert reports to be served by September 14. Trial is set for 2021.
In new scheduling order, trial in PA school funding lawsuit tentatively scheduled for Fall 2020.
Trial in PA School Funding Lawsuit Scheduled for Summer 2020
Commonwealth Court dismisses Senator Scarnati’s motion that the case was rendered moot by the adoption of a fair funding formula in 2016.
In new school funding lawsuit filings, Governor Wolf says more funding is needed, while Senator Scarnati fails to dispute growing disparities.
As part of our response to Senator Scarnati's mootness application, the six school district petitioners in the lawsuit each filed affidavits, reporting continued painful cuts to education.
In response to Senator Scarnati's mootness application, new filing shows decreased classroom spending and widening inequities since the lawsuit was filed
Commonwealth Court overrules preliminary objections
Recap of March 7 oral argument
Oral argument March 7 on remaining preliminary objections and a motion to dismiss
Pa.'s Governor asks court to expedite lawsuit
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Orders Commonwealth Court to Hold Trial on Whether State Officials are Violating the State’s Constitution by Failing to Adequately and Equitably Fund Public Education
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument for Fair Education Funding Lawsuit
Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Hear Oral Argument for Fair Education Funding Suit
Pennsylvania Supreme Court grants oral argument (set for September 2016).
City of Philadelphia files Amicus Brief
Case is fully briefed before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court
We appeal to Pennsylvania Supreme Court
Commonwealth Court dismisses case, noting courts cannot get involved in school funding issues
Commonwealth Court hears oral argument
We filed suit in Commonwealth Court