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Senator Hughes An informational update for you!

This publication is your opportunity to receive regular updates on the work and the issues that I have been involved with, both in Harrisburg and throughout our community.

Please visit my website, where you will find a comprehensive overview of our work, various phone numbers and contact information to assist you in solving problems, opportunities to volunteer and assist us in our programs and opportunities to give your feedback.

Senate Democrats Call for Pennsylvania Department of Education to Investigate Complaints About School Conditions in Philly Schools

August 21, 2014: Philadelphia School Funding Press Conference - Senator Hughes Remarks
August 21, 2014: Philadelphia School Funding Press Conference - Senator Hughes Remarks


Last week, I joined with my Democratic colleagues from across Pennsylvania to demand that the Pennsylvania Department of Education investigate more than 800 complaints originating from the School District of Philadelphia. These complaints, which are all from the previous academic year, are a result of the lack of funding provided by the state to our local public school system. We are providing support to the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and Parents United for Public Education, two organizations that have filed a lawsuit attempting to get the Department of Education to investigate these complaints.



The Pennsylvania state constitution says that students must be provided with a “thorough and efficient system of public education.” If children are being denied educational services, you have the right to file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The Secretary of Education has a responsibility to investigate complaints and correct any deficiencies (22 Pa. Code § 4.81). File a complaint today and tell the state to uphold its responsibility to all of Philadelphia's children.

File Complaints with the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia:


Below are video clips from a press conference that I organized two weeks ago about school conditions due to funding cuts. You can hear the stories from parents, students, teachers, and other school employees below.

August 21, 2014: Philadelphia School Funding Press Conference - Student Remarks
August 21, 2014: Philadelphia School Funding Press Conference - Parent Remarks

Read Letter

September 3, 2014

Carolyn Dumaresq, Ed.D.
Acting Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Education
333 Market Street
10th Floor
Harrisburg, PA  17126

Dear Secretary Dumaresq,

The School District of Philadelphia will begin its academic year next week with roughly the same level of funding as the previous year. This assumes the General Assembly enacts a local cigarette tax authorization for the district immediately upon their return on September 15th.

We believe that level of funding is insufficient, as indicated by more than 800 complaints of curriculum deficiency that were submitted to the Department of Education during 2013-14. We are writing to inquire what follow-up was made by your department to investigate those complaints.

This question has the utmost urgency. Currently, the District does not have sufficient funds to meet last year’s severely inadequate level of service. With the best case scenario, maintenance of last year’s level of service, we need to ensure that any allegation of deficiency in the legally mandated level of instruction must be investigated and corrected so that we as the adults do not fail our children.

The Department must act quickly to determine if each complaint submitted is warranted and if it is, take immediate action so that all children in the commonwealth receive the thorough and efficient education as required by law.



Parents Sue State, Say it Failed to Probe Problems in Phila. schools

Kristen A. Graham | Inquirer Staff Writer September 09, 2014

The state Education Department has violated its legal obligation to investigate claims of "massive curriculum deficiencies" in city schools, a group of Philadelphia School District parents claimed in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The group, including seven district parents and the group Parents United for Public Education, filed the suit in Commonwealth Court.

A separate suit about education funding is forthcoming, said officials with the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, which represents the parents in the suit filed Tuesday.

During the 2013-14 school year, parents filed 825 complaints with the Pennsylvania Department of Education on issues ranging from overcrowding to "squalid and insufficient toilet facilities." The problems all stem from district-level budget cuts made necessary by a lack of state funds, the parents said. » Continue Reading

Parents Sue Over Philadelphia School Conditions

By Dan McQuade | Philly Magazine | September 09, 2014

Parents United for Public Education and seven parents filed suit against the acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Education. Meanwhile, 23 Pennsylvania senators want the state to investigate complaints.

Seven Philadelphia parents and the Parents United for Public Education group are suing over the conditions of Philadelphia’s public schools. The petitioners are represented by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia.

In the suit, to be filed against acting Pennsylvania education secretary Carolyn Dumaresq, the parents say the state has failed in its constitutional mandate to “receive and investigate allegations of curriculum deficiencies.” Parents United says it delivered 825 complaints about school conditions to Dumaresq that were not followed up on.

» Continue Reading

We will not be silent: What parents want around state accountability

By Helen Gym | Philadelphia Public School - The Notebook | September 11, 2014

A child dealt with the death of a parent with no counselor available during a time of extreme distress.

A high school student started each period searching for desks and chairs, because her classes were so overcrowded.

A 7-year-old with emotional and learning needs began regressing and scratched himself bloody during class, because a classroom aide and full-time counselor were no longer available like they were the year before.

» Continue Reading

Learn more about the issues and provide your feedback on my website at as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@SenatorHughes).

Offices of State Senator Vincent Hughes

4950 Parkside Avenue | Suite 300
Philadelphia, PA 19131
Phone: 215.879.7777
Fax: 215.879.7778
Senate Box 203007
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3007
Phone: 717.787.7112
Fax: 717.772.0579
August 21, 2014: Philadelphia School Funding Press Conference - Student Remarks August 21, 2014: Philadelphia School Funding Press Conference - Parent Remarks