HARRISBURG (AP) – A court ruling earlier this year which decided the way PA funds public schools is unconstitutional helped make education spending a thorny issue in state budget negotiations. State government is without full spending authority since a new fiscal year budget was not approved by July 1. The final OK on a $45 billion spending plan has been stymied over a dispute about creating a $100 million program to allocate state subsidies for students in the lowest performing districts attend a school of their choice. House Republicans described the program as a potential solution to the court’s decision, saying that the court left reform open to a variety of paths. The program would give up to $10,000 to families to use for an eligible student who attends one of the state’s 15% lowest-performing schools, based on standardized test scores, and come from a family that makes under 250% of the federal poverty level, or $75,000 for a family of four. House Republican Leader, Lancaster County Rep. Bryan Cutler says its inclusion as part of the budget would lead to the most ambitious and beneficial school reform measure in decades. Complicating matters is the judge’s ruling, which ordered the Legislature and governor to fix the system, but with no guidance about how or how quickly it should be done.