Testimony continues in school funding trial

Written by on December 22, 2021

Testimony continues in school funding trial

By Mallory Falk

December 22, 2021

Students attend classes in-person in the Whitehall-Coplay School District. (Photo | Chloe Nouvelle/ WLVR)

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Testimony continued Tuesday in a landmark case over how Pennsylvania funds its public schools. Plaintiffs say the current system is unfair and unconstitutional.

Matthew Splain, an advocate for small, rural districts, is board president of the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools. He’s also superintendent of the Otto Eldred School District in McKean County. It’s not one of the plaintiffs in the case but he said it still desperately needs more money.

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Splain said his group, which represents more than 170 districts, advocated for a fair funding formula that passed several years ago and directs more money to districts with higher poverty levels and more English language learners.

But he said the formula doesn’t focus on adequate funding for schools. It provides a blueprint for distributing funds more equitably but doesn’t address how much money districts actually need to serve students.

So it hasn’t done enough to solve the funding problems that led to the lawsuit, which was filed in 2014.

The trial will take a break later this week, and resume in early January.

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