Identifying the issues, influencing legislation and shaping the debate on key education issues
An essential component of PSBA's purpose is advocating the interests of public education in helping to shape law and education policy in front of the legislature, administrative agencies and the courts.
PSBA goes to court for public schools
- PSBA participates in appellate-level court cases as an amicus curiae, or “friend of the court,” supporting school district positions in cases of statewide or national interest. PSBA counsel files legal briefs and presents oral arguments to ensure understanding of public policy and practical ramifications. In extraordinary situations PSBA will participate as an amicus directly at the trial court or administrative agency level. Other local government associations or advocacy groups often are part of a coalition led by PSBA staff or general counsel.
- PSBA initiates court cases in its own name or as class actions, or may initiate them on behalf of public school entity plaintiffs whose situations exemplify the particular legal concerns. These cases involve challenges to laws or commonwealth agency regulations, policies, practices or decisions believed to be unconstitutional, unlawful or harmful to the interests of local public school entities.
- PSBA provides consultation to local counsel representing school entities in court or administrative cases at the trial and appellate level. PSBA provides similar assistance to commonwealth agencies or other local government associations in litigation supported by PSBA.
Choosing the battles
Obviously, budget and staffing limitations don't permit PSBA to become involved in every appeal involving public schools. To be cost effective, PSBA carefully selects cases appropriate for amicus participation based on which cases have the most statewide impact.
Current Judicial Advocacy Report -- A summary of current PSBA activity
How members help
Early alerts from local solicitors about developing cases are critical to success, and opportunities for amicus participation may be lost due to a lack of timely information about procedural deadlines. To request PSBA to consider participating as an amicus, a school entity's solicitor or other counsel should send a written request:
- A summary of the issues presented and why they are of statewide significance
- The procedural status including known filing deadlines
- Copies of pleadings, court opinion or agency adjudication being appealed
Send amicus participation requests to PSBA Chief Counsel Stuart L. Knade, Esq.