Philadelphia City Council has approved hiring outside lawyers to sue the state of Pennsylvania for cuts to education funding.
Councilman Darrell Clarke said he wants to go after the state because Gov. Tom Corbett is making such severe reductions to schools.
“Our lawsuit will hopefully will look at the consistent underfunding that has happened over a period of years for school districts in urban areas,” Clarke said. “We will also look at in this particular proposal the cuts are very dramatic in those areas that have lower-income individuals.”
Clarke says he was inspired by what has happened in New Jersey where that state’s Supreme Court has ordered $500 million in spending cuts be restored to poor school districts.
“So we’re hoping to some degree to replicate what happened in Jersey where the courts had to step in and mandate a fair and equitable way for additional funding to those consistently underfunded school districts,” he said.
Philadelphia filed similar lawsuits in the 1990s, but lost. Clarke said even if the suit were successful, it would not help this year’s school district budget crisis.