Cambria County school district, five others sue state over school funding

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FILE – In this Aug. 13, 2014, file photo, a student prepares to leave the Enterprise Attendance Center school southeast of Brookhaven Miss. The federal government has decided to delay changing the way it determines funding for rural education after a bipartisan group of lawmakers said the move would hurt hundreds of schools. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) –The issue of school funding is taking center stage in Harrisburg as six school districts claim the state discriminates against students in districts with low property values and incomes.

Greater Johnstown School District Superintendant Amy Arcurio took to the stand and says low state funding affects everything from class sizes, teacher salaries, to not having enough staff, and building maintenance.

“We are at max capacity using every available square footage in our spaces to house our students in that school, that’s one way our high school is not able to meet the needs of our students,” Arcurio said.

Greater Johnstown and five other districts in various parts of the state say the Department of Education is violating the constitution’s equal protection provisions by depriving students in communities of the educational resources they need to succeed.

“We don’t have enough guidance counselors, we don’t enough librarians, we don’t have enough teachers that can intervene with our students,” Arcurio said.

According to the districts, the state has some of the nation’s widest gaps in funding between low-wealth and high-wealth school districts, and education funding overall is $4.6 billion dollars below an adequacy target set by the state.

The Superintendent also says there are very few substitute teachers within the district as well. The school funding trial is expected to last eight to 10 weeks.

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