News & Brews February 8, 2023

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Court ruling in school funding case points to school choice

Yesterday, the Commonwealth Court issued its ruling in William Penn School District v. the Pa. Department of Education—the landmark school funding case that’s been ongoing since 2014. The court affirmed that Pennsylvania is failing “to provide all students with access to a comprehensive, effective, and contemporary system of public education.” The court stopped short, however, of dictating that more funding be directed to public education, as the plaintiffs had desired. Instead, the court left the remedy up to the legislative and executive branches, along with educators.

Most notably, the court affirmed that its opinion does not “require reform to be entirely financial.” The court noted that “there are reform options beyond financial reform.” And, “The options for reform are virtually limitless.” The court stated, “The only requirement, that [is] imposed by the Constitution, is that every student receives a meaningful opportunity to succeed academically, socially, and civically, which requires that all students have access to a comprehensive, effective, and contemporary system of public education.”

This is a huge victory for school choice. Allowing money to follow the child is a proven way to ensure all children have access to a quality education.

Democrats win three special House elections

As predicted, Democrats won yesterday’s three special elections for vacant House seats. The districts, all in Allegheny County, lean heavily Democrat. The wins mean Democrats will hold a 102-101 majority in the House. What remains to be seen is whether Speaker Mark Rozzi will retain the gavel or whether he will be ousted in favor of fellow Democrat Rep. Joanna McClinton. Yesterday, Rozzi, who had previously adjourned the House until Feb. 27, announced the House would be back in session Feb. 21.

Pa. doles out billions of dollars to horse racing

The Center Square reports that since 2004, Pa. has given $3.5 billion in subsidies to the state’s horse racing industry. The state gives the industry more “in one year than the federal government will give the state in five years to build electric vehicle charging stations.” What’s been the ROI? Well, “The extra cash, while keeping the industry alive, has not led to a resurgence of popularity.”

Here’s who Pa. pols invited to the SOTU

Well, from the news stories, apparently I should have watched last evening’s State of the Union Address, as it was filled with drama! But alas, I’m left with morning-after recaps. If you’re curious about who received invitations from Pa.’s congressional delegation, City & State PA shared the list a few hours before the speech.

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