The Lower Merion School District (LMSD) has been sued by three Lower Merion Township school tax payers.
The case is Wolk, et al. v. The School District of Lower Merion. In their complaint, the plaintiffs argue taxpayers should only have to pay for a bare-bones public education.
We firmly believe that position is contrary to the law as articulated by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court as far back as 1932, which stated, “In construing the school laws, therefore, that interpretation will be adopted which will be more likely to carry into effect this generous purpose.
The child is the paramount object of our common school law. [Their] education, and not the exact apportionment of the cost among the various subdivisions of the Commonwealth, is its chief concern.”
What's at stake...
The ramifications of a plaintiffs’ victory in this case are staggering.
Here are just a few of the programs our school district provides that go above and beyond ”bare-bones” and could be slashed:
AP, IB, honors classes, Science Olympiad, athletics, outdoors writing, arts-based programs (Point of View, Waterbound and Artifacts), debate and chess clubs, and more.
None of these programs are mandated by state law and could be cut under the "minimum" educational standards the plaintiffs argue a public school should follow.
What Plaintiffs want...
The plaintiffs seek, for example, larger class sizes, even though educators universally agree smaller class sizes translate to better learning.
The lead plaintiff, Arthur Wolk, actually stated that a "public school education" is meant to be "inherently inferior" to a private school.
He apparently wants LMSD to turn its back on the children of our community whose families cannot afford a private school.
We speak for all of our children and we say NO.
We will not sit back and watch our children's educations degraded to the minimum standards the state will allow, especially when the laws do not require those standards.
The plaintiffs appear to have sought to replace the term “minimum” allowable standards with “maximum” allowable standards, but that is not the law in our Commonwealth.
The plaintiffs want to prioritize tax refunds over the interests of our children. We must stay focused on our and the Commonwealth’s paramount interest, quality public education for our children
What’s more, we believe the plaintiffs’ case is self-defeating, and economically harmful to them and all other Lower Merion property owners.
- The Township has enjoyed an influx of residents over the years, a substantial reason being the quality of Lower Merion’s public schools.
- This has contributed to increased property values.
- It stands to reason this trend should continue, not be stymied by a short-sighted lawsuit brought by three residents who care more about lowering their school taxes than the welfare of the children in their community.