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Young’s e-mail address is gyoungnlj.com. a portion of Pennsylvania’s Education Empowerment Act providing for mayoral control of school districts with poor performance does not violate the Pennsylvania Constitution’s prohibition against special legislation, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said on July 22 . Harrisburg Sch. Dist. v. Zogby, nos. 1 MAP 2002; 2 MAP 2002; 7 MAP 2002; 14 MAP 2002. The state legislature (known as the General Assembly) created a provision providing for expedited mayoral control of poorly performing school districts. Legislators wrote the law so that only the Harrisburg district fit the law’s requirements. After the state’s high court struck down the law as violative of the state’s constitutional prohibition against special legislation “regulating the affairs of counties, cities, townships, wards, boroughs or school districts,” the legislators passed a new, broader version of the law so that other districts could be covered by it. The Harrisburg district and others sued, alleging that the new law still violated the special legislation prohibition as well as equal protection guarantees because it treated Harrisburg differently from other districts. When a trial court invalidated the law, the state appealed. Reversing, the high court held that the new plan differed from the original plan and that it was rationally related to the state’s education objectives. The court said that, although the “restrictions collectively narrow the class of school districts eligible for expedited treatment . . . to a small number, we believe that it was rational for the General Assembly to seek to limit the program’s initial reach to a small group of districts before prescribing the same procedures more generally throughout the state.”

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