For 60 years, we have committed to being one of the most knowledgeable and experienced firms in the field of education law. While some firms dabble in this area we do not – and for a clear and certain reason. Education law is a very specialized area of practice. Therefore, we take pride in having lawyers who are on top of the leading developments in the field and are fully knowledgeable as to both the day-to-day and long-term challenges our school districts and other educational institutions face.
Public School Districts
We currently serve as Solicitor for nine public school districts, all located in the Philadelphia suburban area.
We also frequently serve as special counsel for public school districts for whom we are not solicitors in matters involving:
- Special education
- Student expulsions
- Land acquisition and development
- Labor and employment matters, including employment discrimination
Other Educational Clients
Our practice also includes the representation of other educational entities. Our clients range from post secondary colleges and community colleges to charter schools and educational management companies.
Recent representations have focused on matters involving:
General school law:
- In-service counseling of school boards, administrators, supervisors, teachers and other school personnel
- Drafting a full range of policy and administrative procedures including Board Operating Procedures, Business, Operations, Employment, Programs, Student Welfare and Community topics
- State Ethics Act compliance
- Sunshine Act compliance
- Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law
- Property Tax Assessment and Earned Income Taxes
- The governing provisions of the Pennsylvania School Code
- Conducting hearings for charter school applications on behalf of public schools
Employment and Labor:
- Grievances, Arbitrations, and Collective Bargaining Agreement Interpretation
- FMLA and ADA
- Unemployment Compensation
- Litigation before U.S. Department of Education, the Office for Civil Rights, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
Special Education and Student Services:
- Special Education, ranging from day-to-day consultations and attendance at IEP meetings to administrative due process hearings and litigation in State and Federal Courts
- Student Rights
- Student Discipline
- Student Attendance/Residency Matters
- Civil Rights
Contracts, Construction and Business:
- Assessment Law and Appeals
- Contract Drafting and Review
- Local Government and Taxation Matters
- School Construction, including Plancon Approval
- Mandate Waivers
School-related Litigation in the following venues:
- Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- Pennsylvania Supreme Court
- United States Supreme Court
- Bureau of Special Education
- United States Department of Education
- Pennsylvania Department of Education
- Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS)
- United States Office for Civil Rights
- United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
- Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas
- Chester County Court of Common Pleas
- Bucks County Court of Common Pleas
- Delaware County Court of Common Pleas
- Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas
Why Educational Clients Choose Wisler Pearlstine
- We know school law. Through the years and the diversity of our school district clients, we have learned that each district is unique in the challenges it faces both on a day-to-day basis and in general; however, school districts share a common and vast body of substantive and procedural law that applies uniquely to them. Our experience has given us a working knowledge of this body of law and enables us to better serve the diverse group of districts that we represent. We pride ourselves on working closely with the school districts to establish best practices to prevent issues from arising and to provide quality, practical advice on how to address unique matters that inevitably confront them.
- We do more than “school law” for schools. At Wisler Pearlstine, a school law client can have virtually all their needs met by one law firm. Our firm includes attorneys available to assist school districts with any legal question involving the totality of their operations. For example, our firm’s construction law department has years of experience in construction litigation and is available as a resource to assist on construction issues. When needed, we render tax advice to our school clients, particularly when they are dealing with pensions, bond issues, and the like. School districts often must interact with other municipal subdivisions and our firm’s Municipal Law Group is available to handle special projects for school districts, including areas such as zoning, land planning and condemnation matters.
- We educate and prepare our clients – to prevent problems down the road. Our experience has been that through education, preparation and availability, we have been effective in giving school districts concise, accurate and thorough advice that withstands challenge. Our goal for our clients is to help them achieve their objectives in a legally compliant way which avoids problems. We put a premium on educating our clients on the state of the law and do so in several ways:
- We provide frequent in-service counseling of school boards, administrators, supervisors, teachers and other school personnel. This includes hosting (at no-charge) periodic group meetings with special education and human resource administrators from all the districts we serve as Solicitor, to discuss important legal issues of common interest.
- We make sure our clients are kept abreast of current developments in the constantly evolving areas of school law, through frequent opinion letters. In addition, our firm creates and publishes the Solicitor’s Office Update, which gives all members of the school district community, including board members, easy access to education law news and developments.
- Most importantly, we counsel our clients, often on a daily basis, on how to handle specific issues as they arise, to make sure that all legal implications have been thoroughly explored and to keep litigation from ever occurring.
Our role in preparing our clients to face both the everyday and extraordinary challenges is equally important. We work with our school district clients to develop policies and procedures that will guide them through the recurring, but rarely routine challenges posed by students, employees and taxpayers. We work with business administrators, facilities directors and other administrators to ensure that procurement measures are not only compliant with the various requirements imposed by Pennsylvania and federal law, but that they also contain contractual provisions that protect the interests of school districts.
We have built a statewide reputation in the practice of school law. Our attorneys are active in the Pennsylvania School Board Solicitor Association and are frequent presenters at Pennsylvania School Boards Association workshops. Ken Roos served in 2006 as President of the Pennsylvania School Boards Solicitors Association. We have lectured extensively to attorneys, school board members, administrators and teachers on various school law issues on the behalf of the Eastern Pennsylvania Association of School Personnel Administrators, the Delaware County Intermediate Unit, the National Business Institute and other professional associations and seminar providers.