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Lawyers to call on City Council for more school funding

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and Education Law Center will host the “Lawyers Day of Action for Education,” a call to action by local attorneys to persuade City Council members to provide more money for the School District.

Leading lawyers will take part in a press conference and meeting with Council members from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday in the Council Caucus room at City Hall.

Among the Philadelphia attorneys who will speak are Rudolph Garcia of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, Matthew Olesh of Fox Rothschild, Susan DeJarnatt of Temple University, and Jennifer Clarke of PILCOP.

The lawyers present will be specifically asking City Council members to extend the 1 percent sales tax, which would provide an additional $120 million in revenue for the city’s public schools. Along with this, they will urge City Council to find an additional $75 million, as Superintendent William Hite has announced that without the $195 million more in city funding, more cuts will have to be made to the District.

“Nothing could be more important for the health of our community and city than having an acceptably adequate school district with the funds it needs,” said Michael Churchill, an attorney at PILCOP.

Principals, parent groups and other education advocates have felt the pain of the budget cuts over the past school year and have rallied for more funding. PILCOP and ELC have also taken on the call to action, recognizing that the legal and business communities of Philadelphia depend on a well-educated population for their future employees and that adequate education funding is critical.

In a media advisory, ELC stated, “The local economy on which the legal community depends will continue to decline without a strong system of public education. While the state budget continues to be inadequate and unfair, we still need to do more at the city level.”

Jeseamy Muentes is an intern at the Notebook.

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