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Penn. School Board Association files lawsuit against Gov. Wolf, state legislature

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania School Board Association filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania Friday morning against Gov. Tom Wolf and the state legislature.

In the suit, PSBA asks the court to prevent the state from withholding funding and also seeks damages for lost income and borrowing costs caused by going six months without the state and federal aid.

Executive Director of PSBA Nathan Mains said, "Districts that should have had those reserves planned on making some interest off of that and budgeted to spend that interest to provide educational services to students. They're without that. Certainly that hurt. The cost of taking out loans and taking out lines of credit has also been a terrible burden on the districts."

Because of the budget impasse, schools had to borrow almost $1 billion. Although Wolf authorized emergency funding, the PSBA said it doesn't make up for the past six months.

The blame game continues as Wolf points the finger at Republicans for standing in the way of education funding. But Republicans said Wolf could have compromised on the budget months ago.

According to a statement made by the governor's office, "Gov. Wolf shares PSBA's frustration and wants the Republican legislature to return to Harrisburg now to finish their work."

Rep. Sue Helm said Wolf should be more open to negotiation.

"He could have given the schools all their money last July 1st and we wouldn't be looking at this," she said. "Basically like I feel that the governor is trying to hold a lot of people hostage by doing this because he's so intent on raising our taxes."

Mains said he doesn't want this to happen again.

"We want the courts to make sure that the dollars that have been held for the last six months are put out now - both federal and state dollars," he said. "And that no one can change their mind because as unpredictable as the last six months have been, we don't want to go through another six months like this."

Mains said it's not a Republican vs. Democrat issue. He said the government needs to work together so schools don't suffer.