Harrisburg – February 8, 2023 – State Sen. Jim Brewster today said yesterday’s ruling by Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court that the commonwealth’s education funding system is unconstitutionally unfair and inequitable should be a call to action for the General Assembly as it heads into the 2023-2024 budget season.
“The court could not have been clearer and more direct in exposing that our education funding system ‘clearly, palpably, and plainly’ violates the state constitution’s Education Clause,” Brewster said. “Every member of the General Assembly has taken an oath to defend the constitution and that means nothing less than sweeping reform that will end generations of inequity and lost opportunity for our children and our children’s children.”
In a thorough and thoughtful 800-page decision, Commonwealth Court President Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer detailed the shortcomings of the current system that has created the most dramatic and draconian inequity in the nation.
“Petitioners satisfied their burden of establishing the Education Clause was clearly, palpably, and plainly violated because of a failure to provide all students with access to a comprehensive, effective, and contemporary system of public education that will give them a meaningful opportunity to succeed academically, socially, and civically,” the judge wrote.
Brewster, who has become known as an advocate for public education during his time on the Senate Education Committee and the state’s School Safety and Security Committee, said the ruling comes just weeks before Gov. Josh Shapiro is scheduled to deliver his first budget address and the General Assembly begins hearings over the next year’s spending plan.
“Pennsylvania is in a sound financial position and there is opportunity to do what we are sworn to do,” Brewster said. “And that is to address the flaws in the current system to create a truly thorough and efficient system of public education. This is a wake-up call.”
The Court’s entire ruling can be read here.