In re Appeal for Formation of Indep. Sch. Dist. Consisting of Highspire

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court clarified the scope the Secretary of Education must employ when assessing whether a municipality may move its territory from one school district to another. Here, the citizens of Highspire Borough petitioned to leave the Steelton-Highspire School District and be absorbed into the Middletown Area School District. The Secretary of Education bore the responsibility of evaluating the petition by considering its merits from an educational standpoint. The Secretary considered the financial implications of the move to both school districts and recommended against the transfer. The Commonwealth Court reversed, finding that the Secretary should focus only on academic benefits of the transfer and not economic considerations. The Supreme Court reversed the Commonwealth Court and held that the Secretary determined the educational merits of the proposed petition in this case encompassed financial considerations in all of the affected school districts. And the Secretary justified this approach by citing the stipulated facts as well as the policy goals in the Public School Code.

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