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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 21, 2020 01:40 PM
From: Senator Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Providing for safe and equitable schools
In the coming days, I intend to introduce a resolution to amend the Constitution of Pennsylvania to clarify the drafters’ intent to provide a safe and equitable school system for every student in the Commonwealth.

For more than a half century, the Constitution has required that the General Assembly “provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.”

Over those years, Pennsylvania has emerged as a national embarrassment for school funding inequity and the toxic condition of many public schools.

To be clear, it is my belief that the constitution as written provides adequate authority to compel the General Assembly to restore equity and safety to our schools, our children and our teachers. However, the current condition makes it clear that many legislators do not agree.

Therefore, I will offer an amendment adding the words “safe” and “equitable” to Article 3 section 14.

The new section will read: The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough, safe, efficient and equitable system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.

It is clear that the General Assembly needs further guidance on this nation’s fundamental belief in equality. I intend that this amendment provide it.

Introduced as SB1294