Your Local News | Allentown, Bethlehem & Easton
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Lehigh Valley Local News

WATCH: Charter school clash, landmark court case dominate 'Community Conversation'

Examining the state of education funding in Pennsylvania. The program highlights Gov. Josh Shapiro’s current education spending proposal.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — LehighValleyNews.com and PBS39 hosted a conversation with a panel of experts Thursday night to examine education funding in Pennsylvania.

  • A Commonwealth Court judge ruled the state's education funding system unconstitutional
  • The ruling found systemic inequities between poor and wealthy school districts
  • Lawmakers and the governor's office are under orders to find a solution

The program, televised live on PBS39, explored what's next after a landmark appellate court ruling declared public school funding "unconstitutional" in the commonwealth.

Reporter Brittany Sweeney moderated the discussion, which began with a conversation with Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg, a senior attorney at the Public Interest Law Center. He was one of the lawyers who argued the case made by plaintiffs that students in poor school districts systemically lack the resources and opportunities of wealthier districts.

Also participating in the conversation were Jack Silva, the assistant superintendent of the Bethlehem Area School District; and Brian Waite, superintendent of the Shenandoah Valley School District in Schuylkill County.

Silva and Waite were joined by Anne Clark, CEO of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, and Michael Evans, director of academics at Lincoln Leadership Academy in Allentown.

They debated the importance of charter schools and how they should be funded.

Also on the program were state Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, majority chair of the House Education Committee; and state Rep. Milou Mackenzie, R-Lehigh/Montgomery/Northampton, a member of the House Education Committee.

Under the Commonwealth Court ruling issued in February, the state's legislative and executive branches are under orders to create a fair and equitable plan to fund public schools.

You can watch above.