PHILADELPHIA — An update by the education advocacy groups representing over a dozen petitioners in a public school funding lawsuit against the state is expected in the coming days.
Representatives from the Education Law Center and the Public Interest Law Center — the latter serving as counsel for the petitioners led by the William Penn School District — will host a webinar press conference for journalists Wednesday afternoon to provide an update on current litigation in the on-going fight that asks the Commonwealth Court to declare the current state funding system of schools does not comply with the state constitution.
Public Interest Law Center Staff Attorney Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg, Education Law Center-PA Legal Director Maura McInerney and William Penn School Superintendent Jane Ann Harbert are all expected to make comments at the progress of the case.
The press conference comes less than a week before Gov. Tom Wolf, one of the named defendants in the case who has vocally supported the petitioners in the case, is expected to deliver his annual budget address to legislators outlying what he wants to see in the 2020-21 budget. Wolf has added over $1 billion to basic and special education funding since taking office in 2015, but all of these new dollars are argued to still not be enough.
The lawsuit was expected to go to trial this summer in a scheduling order from Commonwealth Court Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer in December 2018. Jubelirer wrote in a Jan. 23 order that trial is tentatively scheduled for this fall as she granted an application for extension of case management deadlines.
The years-long case was not expected to go to trial after appeal court denials on the case mounted up, taking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2017 to say that the case was justiciable to be heard in Commonwealth Court.