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May 2015 Update
The Public Interest Law Center 

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In this issue:
2015 Annual Event -- In Pursuit of the Promise: Education for Allb
Attendees at our 2014 Annual Event
All children deserve access to a high-quality public education that provides them the resources they need to thrive in today's world. Save the date for our annual event and join us to honor the efforts of our partners and clients in taking a stand for Pennsylvania's kids. On Tuesday, September 29, at Fringe Arts/La Peg, we will honor our clients in our school funding lawsuit and board member and renowned plaintiff's attorney H. Laddie Montague of Berger & Montague, P.C. Click here to purchase tickets and sponsorships

Over the last few months, with input from board, staff, clients, and stakeholders, we underwent a rebranding process, thanks to support from The Philadelphia Foundation, and we will be rolling the changes out gradually over the next few months - here's a sneak peek! We streamlined our name by dropping "of Philadelphia," retired old acronyms, and freshened up our look. We did not, however, discard our rich legacy and core values. At the heart of our identity remain the most important components of our work: our clients, our focus on the public interest, a dedicated and talented staff, and our fundamental commitment to eliminating poverty. 
Ben Geffen Urges PA Supreme Court to Uphold Government Transparency
cStaff attorney Benjamin D. Geffen presented oral argument in our lawsuit aiming to make public how Pennsylvania spends taxpayer dollars to provide dental services to low-income people and people with disabilities. We believe Ben did a tremendous job, but you can see for yourself at PCN by clicking on the first video. We are currently awaiting a decision from the court. Head to our website for a full recap of the oral argument.

School Districts, Parents Take School Funding Challenge to State's Highest Courtfunding
School Funding Lawsuit Petitioner Joan Duvall-Flynn
Our School Funding Lawsuit is moving forward, as we helped school districts and parents file an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. This appeal challenges last month's Commonwealth Court decision dismissing our lawsuit contesting the state's failure to adequately and equitably fund Pennsylvania's public schools. The Supreme Court is obligated to hear this appeal. Next, the Court will issue a briefing schedule and will determine when this case will be heard. Our lawsuit got some great coverage in media outlets such as the Philadelphia Inquirer and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. You can also head to our School Funding Lawsuit case page to read all press about our case since its beginning.
Hissom Memorial Center Case, 30 Years Later e
Hissom Memorial Center, credit:
Here is a concrete example of how our work truly benefits thousands of people for the long term. Back in 1985, we partnered with attorney Louis Bullock to file a lawsuit alleging negligence and abuse, injury, unnecessary physical and chemical restraint, and lack of adequate medical care, clothing, food and rehabilitative services at Hissom Memorial Center in Oklahoma, a segregated institution for people with disabilities. Tulsa World caught up with MaryAnn Duncan, a named plaintiff in this suit, 30 years later to discuss the case and its results. These results include the closing of three state institutions, which were replaced by more than 100 community service providers that offer housing and employment programs. 
Litigation on Behalf of Children Needing Special Education Services Moves Forwardg

Children with disabilities are entitled to individual determinations of the school services and resources they need. In October 2014, we filed a federal lawsuit against the School District of Philadelphia contending that the District has a unilateral policy of limiting the amount and duration of Extended School Year (ESY) services for students with disabilities. Thousands of children with disabilities use ESY services when school is closed for breaks (i.e. summer) to stop regression. We are asking the Court to declare the District's one-size-fits-all policy illegal. Recently the District filed a motion to dismiss in this case, and we responded to that motion.

Nicole Perkins: Board Member of the Month
Nicole Perkins
dNicole Perkins is senior vice president at Hawthorn, a member of the PNC Financial Services Group. Her term on our Board of Directors expires this week, but she will continue to serve on the Governance Committee. Nicole has been instrumental in helping us with some of our fundraising programs. About her time with the Public Interest Law Center, she said, "I enjoy volunteering for the Public Interest Law Center because I have an opportunity to be both educated on all issues as well as to be involved with making decisions that have a direct impact on the ability of the Public Interest Law Center to take action." Congratulate Nicole by liking our post about her on our Facebook page.
Chanda Miller: Pro Bono Partner of the Monthf
Chanda Miller
Chanda Miller is an associate at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP in the firm's litigation group. She has worked with the Public Interest Law Center to ensure parents with limited English proficiency in the School District of Philadelphia have translation and interpretation services that they need to participate in their children's education. About working with us, she said, "It has been a privilege to work with the Public Interest Law Center, including Sonja Kerr and Michael Churchill, on language access issues...Our co-counsel are creative, dedicated advocates, and working with them on these important education issues has made me even more aware of the importance of passionate advocacy on behalf of the underserved and underprivileged."
Follow us on Social Media and Further Readingh
What you see here is only a portion of the work the Public Interest Law Center has done over the past month. You can read more about our work below, but make sure to follow us on social media for daily updates!

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Upcoming Eventsi

Hosted by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute
Presenter: Michael Churchill
Monday, June 8, 2015, 12:00 - 2:00 P.M.

Hosted by the American Society of Medical Association Counsel in Chicago, IL
Presenter: Ben Geffen
Monday, June 8, 2015, 2:00 - 6:30 P.M.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015, 6:00 - 8:30 P.M.

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