Trial Highlights Funding Shortfalls in This Local School District

high school building
Image via the William Penn School District.
Penn Wood High School.

The funding shortfalls in the William Penn School District in Delaware County were spotlighted Dec. 22 when district staff testified at a landmark trial over Pennsylvania’s funding of public schools, writes Mallory Falk for WHYY.

William Penn is one of six plaintiff school districts suing the state, arguing that current funding models are unfair and unconstitutional.

The school district has the second-highest tax rate in Pennsylvania but can’t raise enough money to support its 5,000 students,

“The biggest challenge is meeting the diverse needs of my students with just me in the classroom,” testified Nicole Miller, a kindergarten teacher at Evans Elementary School. “It’s 25 students, and then it’s just me.”

William Penn’s athletic program has also been hit hard. Freshman sports have been canceled, the district lacks a legitimate track, games have been canceled due to lack of bus drivers, and there’s a makeshift weight room in a closet with rusting equipment, according to testimony from William Penn athletic director Rap Curry.

Defense lawyers have argued that funding education doesn’t mean covering all funding disparities.

“We cannot conflate things that would be nice to have with things the constitution requires,” said one attorney.

The trial resumes in the new year.

Read more at WHYY.