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Struggling School Districts Find Little Help In Pennsylvania

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The Miller family sits in the living room of their home in a Philadelphia suburb. They are part of an ongoing lawsuit, arguing Pennsylvania has neglected its constitutional responsibility to provide all children a "thorough and efficient" education.

This winter, high school junior Jameria Miller would run to Spanish class. But not to get a good seat.

"The cold is definitely a distraction," Jameria says. "We race to class to get the best blankets."

Because the classroom has uninsulated metal walls, Jameria's teacher would hand out blankets. First come, first served. Such is life in the William Penn School District – an impoverished, predominantly African-American school system situated among Philadelphia's inner-ring suburbs.

But life hasn't always been like this for Jameria. Before her parents moved, she attended classes in the more affluent Upper Moreland district in nearby Montgomery County. That system is largely white and, according to state and local records, spends about $1,200 more per student than William Penn.

For more on Jameria's story, click here.

The story of school funding in Pennsylvania is part of the NPR reporting project School Money, a nationwide collaboration between NPR's Ed Team and 20 member station reporters exploring how states pay for their public schools and why many are failing to meet the needs of their most vulnerable students. Join the conversation on Twitter by using #SchoolMoney.

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