Letter: “Before reform, fund properly”

July 23, 2015 – The Philadelphia Inquirer – by Adam Schott and David Lapp

Earlier this summer, the state Senate advanced a far-reaching proposal to put public schools with low test scores under direct state control. As evidenced by statements by Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams (D., Phila.) and others, the legislation appears likely to be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations around Gov. Wolf’s request that significant resources be added to the state’s education budget. Continue reading

Save the Date: August 6th School Funding Forum in Pittsburgh

School Funding Forum in Pittsburgh, PA

Thursday, August 6th, 2-4pm

With Hear Me and our western PA partners in the Campaign for Fair Education Funding, the Education Law Center is convening a school funding forum with a focus on the most at-risk students. Join us to hear stories of students directly impacted by a lack of education resources and to discuss the latest updates from Harrisburg. While school funding issues impact all children, we hope this forum will kick-start a dialogue on what school funding means for the most at-risk students whom ELC serves, including students experiencing homelessness or in foster care, English language learners, and students with disabilities.

Location: Gates Hillman Center at Carnegie Mellon University, room 8102. Suggested parking is in the East Campus Garage; here’s a map of walking directions from the garage to the room.

The event is free and open to the public. To join us, please email Staff Attorney Cheryl Kleiman at [email protected].

Work with ELC: Attorney and Paralegal Positions

The Education Law Center, a statewide nonprofit legal advocacy organization founded in 1975, is seeking:

  • a full-time policy attorney in our office in Philadelphia, PA
  • a full-time staff attorney in our office in Pittsburgh, PA
  • a full-time paralegal in our office in Philadelphia, PA

Applicants will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Click here to learn more.

GOP Budget Falls Short of Philly Schools Request

July 1, 2015 – Holly Otterbein, Philadelphia Magazine – Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed the GOP-led legislature’s state budget Tuesday night, in part, he said, because it would set aside far less education funding than he believes is fair.

How much less?

Earlier this year, the Philadelphia School District asked state lawmakers for an extra $206 million. The Republican bill would have provided only an additional $21.8 million to the school district, according to data from Senate GOP spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher. That’s about 11 percent of the surplus funding that district officials said they need.

Wolf’s proposed budget would also spend less on the school district than officials would like, but just slightly. His plan would allocate an extra $184 million to the city’s schools, according to district spokesman Fernando Gallard.

Although the GOP budget would have given the schools half a loaf, it still would have been enough to cover the district’s $85 million shortfall when combined with the $70 million in new revenue approved by City Council last month. The district requested money beyond that, though, because it hoped to begin investing in classrooms again after several years of severe cutbacks.

Deborah Gordon Klehr, executive director of the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania, applauded Wolf’s decision to veto the proposal.

“The General Assembly has failed our children by refusing to restore draconian funding cuts that have left our poorest districts unable to meet the needs of their students,” she said, referring to cuts made under former Gov. Tom Corbett.

Wolf and state lawmakers resumed talks on the budget at 2 p.m. today, the Associated Press reported.

Read the article on Phillymag.com: http://www.phillymag.com/news/2015/07/01/gop-school-funding-philadelphia/

Education Law Center of Pennsylvania Lauds Gov. Wolf’s Budget Veto

CONTACT: Deborah Gordon Klehr, 215 346-6920

Education Law Center of Pennsylvania Lauds Gov. Wolf’s Budget Veto
Pa. needs a responsible budget that restores education cuts and reinvests in our schools

PHILADELPHIA – Deborah Gordon Klehr, Executive Director of the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania issued the following statement today in the wake of Governor Wolf vetoing the General Assembly’s budget proposal.

“Thank you Governor Wolf for rejecting a sham budget that does not meaningfully support Pennsylvania ‘s students. The General Assembly has failed our children by refusing to restore draconian funding cuts that have left our poorest districts unable to meet the needs of their students.”

“Years of state cuts to education spending, one-time fixes, and political favoritism have disproportionately impacted students in our poorest communities, even as those districts serve students who desperately need more resources. As a result, our state’s current funding system has become the most inequitable in the nation. The General Assembly ‘s budget makes little effort to correct these vast disparities between our poorest and wealthiest districts. Our Commonwealth needs a budget that invests new education dollars that are sufficient to make up for lost ground and will give all children, regardless of ZIP code, income, or race, the education they need.”

“We call on the leadership of all four caucuses to begin serious negotiations with the Governor to serve the needs of our children by providing adequate resources to our struggling school districts. This is what our state constitution requires. Our children cannot wait any longer.”


The Education Law Center-PA works to ensure that all children in Pennsylvania have access to a quality public education, including children living in poverty , children of color, children in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, children with disabilities, English language learners, and children experiencing homelessness. For more information, visit www.elc-pa.org or follow @edlawcenterpa on Twitter.