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Hughes Statement on PA Supreme Court Ruling on William Penn School District

HARRISBURG, September 28, 2017 — State Sen. Vincent Hughes applauded the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision today on William Penn School District v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania school funding case.

Six school districts, along with several parents, initially filed the case in 2014, claiming that the gross inequities in Pennsylvania’s public schools violate the state’s Education Clause and its Equal Protection clause. The Commonwealth Court initially dismissed the case, citing prior court rulings. The plaintiffs appealed and in today’s decision the Pennsylvania Supreme Court sided with the plaintiffs and overturned those prior rulings.

“Today’s ruling is a turning point for families of students whose education is compromised due to school funding inequities. For the first time, cases of school funding inequality can be heard in court and evidence can be presented for a full and fair hearing.

“I have seen firsthand, in my own district, the inequities in our public schools. It is egregious that one school has modern technology and first-rate facilities while, a few miles down the road, students don’t have proper textbooks or even proper heating,” Hughes said. “This is not just a city versus suburbs problem. These inequities have existed across the commonwealth for decades. In fact, I stood with the plaintiffs at the outset in saying that the courts must take matters into their own hands because of the legislature’s complete failure over decades on this issue.

“All children deserve access to a quality education. Today’s ruling is a significant first step toward addressing school funding inequality in Pennsylvania and giving affected families their day in court,” Hughes said.

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