In Wolk vs. LMSD — LMSD Tells Courts Dismiss Judge Smyth Injunction

Ardmore, Lower Merion Township, PA —  on Friday the Lower Merion school district sent out the following news alert “News Alert: Update on Wolk litigation.”  In that alert, the school district lays out the points that they believe are salient in their case against a ruling against them by a Common Pleas Court Judge.

The 91 Page Court filing concerns an injunction placed on the school district by Common Pleas Court Judge Joseph A. Smyth back in 2016  

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“This case never should have been brought in a Court of Common Pleas. The District’s preliminary objections set forth several reasons why”,  writes LMSD attorney D. Alice Hickok who is with the Law Firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath from Center City, Philadelphia.

Hickok further went on to say that “District respectfully requests that this Court VACATE Judge Smyth’s injunction and DISMISS Plaintiffs’ case – or, at worst, REMAND the case to Judge Haaz with instructions to stay this matter pending his resolution of the preliminary objections.

Smyth’s ruling ordered that “Lower Merion School District is hereby enjoined from enforcing or collecting a tax increase for fiscal year 2016-17 of over 2.4% more than was in effect for the prior fiscal year.”

Not only did the ruling invalidate the 2016-2017 budget it went even further and required them to enact a budget with a tax increase no more than two 2.4%.

In February 2016, Wolk and other residents of Lower Merion filed a class action lawsuit against the Lower Merion School District which contained grievances about “proliferate spending and tax increases.”

The lawsuit alleges that the school district illegally raised taxes above a threshold set by the state which basically says that taxes cannot be raised more than 2.4% higher than the previous year unless special conditions are met.

The suit alleges that the school district regularly predicts deficit spending and yet at the end of each fiscal year, the school district ends up with a surplus.

 

Taken from the Court filing

In Wolk's lawsuit not only do the plaintiffs seek damages in excess of $55 million, but they also wanted an appointment of a trustee to undertake the responsibilities of the school district’s board members.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has weighed in when the school district tried to quash the injunction.  

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