ELC in the News

School Funding Lawsuits Move the Needle on Fairness

Education Law Center executive director Deborah Gordon Klehr wrote about the history of school funding lawsuits that have been filed in dozens of states besides Pennsylvania. “We see from the experience of other states that school funding lawsuits have been strikingly successful at moving the needle toward fairness,” she wrote. “Decisions in such lawsuits spur…

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Historic school funding trial date moved to Oct. 12

There is a new start date for the trial in our historic lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s school funding system. The date is moved back a month to Oct.12. The later date allow superintendents and other petitioners who filed the case against state officials additional time to provide up-to-date specifics to supplement the evidence and testimony gathered…

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ELC Testifies on Barriers to Education Success before PA Senate Education Committee

ELC staff attorney Hetal Dhagat addressed educational barriers that impact Black and Brown students, low-income students, students with disabilities, and immigrant and refugee students in testimony to the PA Senate Education Committee on April 23, 2021. She spoke at a hearing on K-12 education reforms in Western Pennsylvania, the last of three hearings that the…

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Philadelphia Eagles Support ELC with $25K Grant

ELC has received a $25,000 grant from the Philadelphia Eagles Social Justice Fund, through which the Eagles organization provides a one-to-one match to donations by players and staff. Education is one of the Fund’s priorities, and we are thrilled to be able to partner with the Eagles in the important work of ensuring access to…

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Advocating for Legislative Action to Address Underfunding

ELC policy director Reynelle Brown Staley was among the panelists who testified to the Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on fair education funding in Coatesville on Aug. 12, attended by over 100 people. Highlighting statements from parents and superintendents across the state, she spoke to the devastating impact of state underinvestment in education, particularly on…

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Lunch-Shaming Must End

In a July 28, 2019, letter to PennLive, ELC legal director Maura McInerney questions new language in the Pennsylvania School Code that allows school districts to serve “alternative lunches” to students whose families have lunch debt. Read her letter.

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Youth in Pa. Residential Institutions: Unsafe, Disconnected, Denied Quality Education

This column by ELC legal director Maura McInerney and Juvenile Law Center staff attorney Kate Burdick highlights the urgent need to address harmful practices in Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice and child welfare residential facilities. Two recent reports laid out the harm being done to children in these placements – and proposed needed reforms, including bringing children…

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ELC Calls on Gov. Wolf to Propose Major Increase in Special Ed Funding

Following on our October report, “Shortchanging Children with Disabilities: State Underfunding of Special Education in Pennsylvania,” the Education Law Center wrote Gov. Tom Wolf in January, urging that his 2019-20 budget proposal include a $400 million increase in state funding for basic education and a $100 million increase in special education funding, to be distributed…

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Fair Funding Lawsuit Goes to Trial Nov. 12, 2021

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has scheduled our historic fair funding lawsuit for trial with a start date of Nov. 12, 2021.  All children in PA have the right to a high-quality public education. This isn’t just an opinion – it’s the law, written into the state constitution in the 1870s. But in PA, not every child…

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ELC Joins Civil Rights Organizations in Issuing New Report Challenging Curtailment of Important Protections for Children of Color

ELC joined more than a dozen other civil rights organizations in releasing a new report highlighting the ways the Trump Administration is aggressively and intentionally limiting the civil rights protections of children and youth of color in schools. The Report was prepared by the Civil Rights Roundtable, a national coalition of organizations and academic professionals…

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Skyrocketing special ed. costs falling heavily on Pa. school districts, taxpayers

A newly released Education Law Center report reveals that Pennsylvania school districts are having to shoulder most of the burden of funding growing expenses of special education. Over an eight-year period, districts contributed nearly $20 toward special education cost increases for every dollar of dedicated funding that came from the state.

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Editorial: New school year, old funding problem

An editorial in the Delaware County Daily Times says that it is time to fix the problems of inadequacy and inequity in school funding that led the William Penn School District and other districts, organizations and families to mount a court challenge to the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s school funding system.

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Extra info can help some gain admission

The LeGare process, established through a case filed by ELC, is intended to provide an equal opportunity for Philadelphia special education and English-learner students to get accepted to the city’s selective public high schools. Alyssa Biederman of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook explains the process. Read more here.

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School funding lawsuit can proceed, judge rules

The landmark Pennsylvania education funding lawsuit filed by ELC and its partners can proceed, a Commonwealth Court judge ruled, as reported by Dale Mezzacappa of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook. The judge rejected the argument made by Republican legislative leaders that it has been rendered moot and should be dismissed. Read more here.

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State leaders respond to ‘moot’ claim in education funding lawsuit

Delco News Network quotes ELC Legal Director Maura McInerney in an article on Governor Wolf and Senator Joe Scarnati’s opposing briefs on the legal status of ELC’s school funding lawsuit.  They write: “‘The governor recognizes that our public school children continue to suffer the painful consequences of underfunded schools every day. He understands that their…

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Gap between rich and poor Pa. school districts has grown, lawsuit says

“Not only has Pennsylvania’s new school-funding formula failed to remedy disparities between wealthy and poor public school districts, the spending gap between such districts has grown, according to a filing Friday by plaintiffs in a landmark funding lawsuit,” Maddie Hanna of Philly.com writes, on ELC’s fair funding suit. Read more here.

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