City of Philadelphia Supports School Funding Lawsuit

City Hall
The City of Philadelphia prepared a "friend of the court" brief on February 16 in support of our school funding lawsuit. In short, the City argues that it is vital to the health of our city and state that our clients have their day in court. 

As the budget impasse continues into its eighth month with no end in sight, this suit is more important than ever to ensure Pennsylvania's students have long-term access to the high-quality public education they need to become engaged citizens.

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U.S. Department of Justice Supports Language Access Case

The United States Department of Justice filed a Statement of Interest in our Language Access case in support of the claims of non-English speaking parents of students with disabilities in the School District of Philadelphia. The Department of Justice supported our allegation that the District is violating federal law by systematically failing to provide sufficient interpretation services and is failing to translate special education documents and regular education forms. An estimated 19,000 families in the District do not speak English as a primary language.

Disability Rights Clinic
Do you have a disability or health condition? Think you've faced discrimination? Need an accommodation at work, school, or from your doctor or landlord? Attend a free clinic and learn about work incentives and your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Partnering with CLS on Guide for Sharswood Residents

Approximately 100 properties in the Sharswood/Blumberg neighborhood being taken through the city's eminent domain proceedings are occupied. We are working with Community Legal Services (CLS) and the Sharswood/Blumberg Neighborhood Advisory Committee to help the residents of these properties. As part of this process, CLS created a three-page guide for residents in this community.

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Comments on PA's Plan to Transition to Integrated Services for People with Disabilities

Julie Foster
In 2014 the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) issued new regulations requiring states to comply with U.S. Supreme Court mandates that states provide services to people with disabilities that are integrated and afford full access to the community. CMS required each state to submit a plan, which must first be published for public comment. Our Independence Foundation Fellow Julie Foster commented on Pennsylvania's proposed plan, saying that our organization is troubled that Pennsylvania still has not stated what it means for services to be offered in an integrated setting. Additionally, there is a lot of work for Pennsylvania to do, and it has not even taken sufficient first steps. Julie's full set of comments is available on our website.

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Help Document Poor Nursing Conditions in Philly Schools

We are accepting complaints that document the lack of nursing services in Philadelphia schools through Students have been harmed or placed at great risk by the shortage of school nurses in the District. We are exploring ways to remedy this issue and ensure every student has access to a nurse. To submit your complaint, head to or call (267) 546-1310. All complaints will be reviewed by attorneys at the Education Law Center-PA and the Public Interest Law Center. is a partnership with Parents United for Public Education and members of Philadelphia City Council.

Join us to Learn about School Funding

Classroom photo
Together with Education Voters PA and the Education Law Center-PA, we are hosting a brief conference call on March 1 at 12:30 p.m. for people interested in advocating support of our school funding lawsuit.  

Attorneys Jennifer Clarke, Michael Churchill and Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg will host an in-person briefing on public education funding on April 12 at 8:30 a.m. Light breakfast will be provided and CLE credit is available to attorneys licensed in Pennsylvania.

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Pro Bono Partner of the Month

Susan Nieto
Susan Nieto, an associate at Dechert LLP, is our pro bono partner of the month. Susan and a team of attorneys from Dechert are co-counsel to Eastwick Friends and Neighbors Coalition (EFNC), a community group based in the Eastwick neighborhood of Southwest Philadelphia. She said of working with us and our clients, "EFNC works tirelessly to advocate for neighborhood planning and development that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. I have been inspired by the dedication of the members of EFNC and [staff attorney] Amy Laura [Cahn], and it has been incredibly rewarding to help facilitate a community advocacy effort that is changing outcomes for an entire neighborhood. The Public Interest Law Center has played a crucial role in EFNC's accomplishments, and we at Dechert are honored to be part of the EFNC team." 

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