The court dismissed the last remaining objection by legislative leaders to the lawsuit, which alleges Pennsylvania is violating its constitution by failing to adequately fund public education and allowing wide disparities between school districts.
State money available for classroom costs has actually decreased since 2013, because pension expenses incurred by districts have risen faster than state aid, according to the filing by the Education Law Center and the Public Interest Law Center.
The Philadelphia School District is recommending that all but one of the 17 charter schools it evaluated for renewal this year be allowed to continue operating. But tensions between the district and the charters may not be resolved just yet.
To enact the spending plan, the Philadelphia School District is still banking on what Mayor Kenney proposed in March: $700 million in new money from the city funded in part through a property tax hike. But City Council has publicly balked at that sum, saying that taxpayers are already overburdened.
The report, released Wednesday, recommends the state set aside money not just for new buildings, but repairs to the state's aging schools. It also calls for targeting money to projects to enhance school safety in the wake of shootings at Parkland and elsewhere.
The lawsuit alleges New Jersey has created and maintained "one of the most segregated public school systems in the nation" and faults the state for requiring students to attend public schools in the municipalities where they live, rather than taking action to reduce segregation.
"We believe the main purpose [of the new policy] is to restrict the operations and growth of charter schools, not improve the outcomes of children," said Stephen DeMaura, executive director of Excellent Schools PA.
Maddie Hanna writes about policy issues, including school funding and affordable housing. She previously covered Gov. Christie and New Jersey state government. She joined the Inquirer in 2012.