Philadelphia House Delegation applauds court ruling for fair school funding

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 9 – The Philadelphia House Delegation applauded the ruling in PA Commonwealth Court that Pennsylvania’s school funding system is unconstitutional.

The ruling is a result of the 2014 case William Penn School District v. PA Department of Education, which was filed on behalf of parents, school districts, and statewide organizations arguing that the commonwealth’s funding of K-12 public education is inadequate and violates the Pennsylvania Constitution.

The petitioners argued that because the bulk of public education funding comes from local property taxes, school districts in areas with low incomes and property values have been underfunded compared to school districts in areas with high incomes and property values.

Leaders of the Philadelphia House Delegation -- Chairwoman Morgan Cephas, Vice Chairman Danilo Burgos and Secretary Malcolm Kenyatta -- issued the following statements about the historic ruling.

“Philadelphia schools have been the victims of underfunding for decades and it shows in the conditions they’re in today,” Cephas said. “This ruling is historic and should set us on the right track to get schools in Philadelphia and across the commonwealth the funding they need.”

“For far too long, PA schools in low-income areas have been massively underfunded, and it has hurt the children attending these schools and the community as a whole,” Burgos said. “This underfunding has especially hurt Philadelphia schools. Yesterday’s ruling is a step in the right direction, as it should provide the impetus to give all PA students the steppingstone necessary toward a successful future.”

“The court has affirmed what we’ve all known for decades: our young people’s opportunity has been tied to their Zip code. Families in low-income areas have had to send their kids to schools that are disgracefully underfunded, especially in neighborhoods like mine in north Philadelphia” Kenyatta said. “This ruling is morally just, constitutionally sound, and now requires us to get to work in the General Assembly to invest in the potential of every Pennsylvania family, no matter where they live.”