ghcv PA. Assoc. for Rural and Small Schools » Timeline of the Equity Suit
Timeline of the Equity Suit


The following timeline will give you some idea of the events that have taken place over the past four years and the scope of those activities:

January 10, 1991 Complaint filed in Commonwealth and Federal Court

  • Interrogatories to Defendants
  • Demand for producing of documents to defendants

January 31, 1991 PSEA files for intervenor’s status

February 8,1991 Commonwealth files Notice of Removal to Federal Court

February 14, 1991 Stipulation re Removal

February 15, 1991 State claims in Commonwealth Court removal of Governor Casey

March 5, 1991 Central Bucks S.D. files to intervene

March 31, 1991 Abington group files to intervene

March 23, 1991 Interrogatories filed on Plaintiffs

April 10, 1991 Amicus status granted PSBA

May 1, 1991 Fox Chapel School District files to intervene

May 10, 1991 Intervention granted Abington, denied PSEA and Central Bucks

June 10, 1991 PSEA asks for amicus status

June 7, 1991 Central Bucks appeals to Supreme Court

June 18, 1991 Commonwealth Court overrules State’s preliminary objections

June 28, 1991 Answer for Governor Casey

July 1, 1991 PSEA granted amicus status with right to file briefs, oral arguments

October 1, 1991 By stipulation, federal proceedings are stayed until state outcomes

November 12, 1991 Central Bucks files Brief for Supreme Court

December 16, 1991 Commonwealth files brief for Supreme Court

December 17, 1991 PARSS files brief for Supreme Court

December 27, 1991 PARSS files amended complaint adding special education

  • PARSS files amended brief

January 9, 1992 Commonwealth grants PARSS leave to file amended complaint

  • Commonwealth produces partial document for Interrogatory

January 21, 1992 PARSS files amended petition

February 11, 1992 Abington group files answer to amendment

February 21, 1992 Commonwealth files answer to amendment

May 21, 1992 Sto-Rox declared distressed

During this time PARSS began to search for an expert witness who might represent PARSS in the case during the trial phase and prepare expert witness reports to the court. The interviews led to the hiring of Dr. Kern Alexander and his staff at Virginia Tech. Dr.Alexander is the foremost expert in the field of equity and has been the expert in may cases for the plaintiffs. PARSS hired Dr. Alexander and his staff. Dr. Alexander has subsequently become President of Murray State University in Kentucky, but continues to head up the research team. In addition, Bill Hughes and his staff, Bruce Merenstein and Gerry Brandon of PSEA worked with Dr. Alexander to introduce him to the way in which data is collected by the Department of Education in Pennsylvania.

At this time, The House Education Committee and the House Appropriations Committee began to have hearings about the problems of Equity in school funding. They hired the National Conference of State Legislatures organization to interview members of educational organizations, members of the executive branch and legislators about what the problems might be and how they could be solved. The NCSL report was delivered at the beginning of 1993.

August 27, 1992 Establishment of PARSS Education and Legal Defense Fund

September 16, 1992 Supreme Court denies Central Bucks petition to intervene

October 30, 1992 PARSS formally hires Dr. Kern Alexander

November 13, 1992 Request for certified figures from STEB and Department of Ed.

November 23, 1992 Fred Speaker announces his retirement from Pepper et. al.

January 4, 1993 NCSL Report is delivered

Spring 1993 House Education and Appropriations Committees hold hearings about equity in funding resulting in the first foundation program in the history of the Commonwealth. ESBE is eliminated after being grandfathered.

September 3, 1993 Deposition of Dean Steinhart

September 13, 1993 Status conference with Judge David Craig

October 15, 1993 enter discovery requests

November 15, 1993 complete compliance notices for hard copy

December 15, 1993 draft report of lead expert

January 15, 1994 completed depositions

February 1, 1994 Final expert’s report

March 1, 1994 defendants and intervenors file expert reports

April 1, 1994 served final rebuttal material

April 15, 1994 pre-trial conference

The scheduling of all of the above events changed, when there was a problem securing the 1992-93 tapes of expenditures and revenues. When the final tapes were secured, a number of months had passed by. The problem was further exacerbated by an inability to read the tapes via computer. The problems were solved in the Spring of 1994 and further refinements of the schedule took place.

November 1, 1993 PARSS Equity and Adequacy Hearings take place in Harrisburg

November 3, 1993 PARSS Equity and Adequacy Hearings take place in Clairton

November 23, 1993 Dr. William Fairley is hired by the defendants

February 1, 1994 Status report given to Judge Caldwell in District Court

April 13, 1994 Further pre-trial scheduling and modification of above schedule

  • Dr. Craig Wood of University of Fla. hired by intervenors

May 23, 1994 Agreement with Judge Caldwell to close case administratively until state case is completed

June 7, 1994 Deposition of Don Clark

  • Deposition of Jane Thorne Carroll

June 13, 1994 Chester -Upland declared distressed

June 22, 1994 Deposition of Barbara Nelson

June 23, 1994 Deposition of Ron Stainbrook

  • Deposition of Bob Reynolds

August 3, 1994 Judge David Craig retires from Commonwealth Court

September 19, 1994 Judge Dante Pellegrini assigned to the case

September 25, 1994 Deposition of Woody Sites

September 25, 1994 Deposition of Lanny Ross

September 26, 1994 Deposition of Dawson Detwiler

September 26, 1994 Deposition of Arnold Hillman

September 28, 1994 Deposition of John DeFlaminis

November 8, 1994 Deposition of Joe Bard

November 29, 1994 Conference with newly appointed Judge Dante Pellegrini

  • Schedule is decided for final production of documents
  • By March 1, 1995 notices to produce and other requests for hard documents not previously supplied by respondents
  • Serve final expert reports upon respondents
  • All parties shall complete depositions
  • By April 1, 1995 responses to expert reports shall be served
  • Status conference held on March 7, 1995.
  • Dr. Alexander’s report served on Defendants and Interveners

March 1, 1995 Notices to produce other requests for had documents not previously supplied by respondents

  • Serve final papers upon respondents
  • All parties shall complete depositions

March 7, 1995 Status conference

  • Dr. Alexander’s report served on defendents and intervenors

April 1, 1995 Responses to expert reports to be served (not done)

April 5, 1995 Status conference held with Judge Pellegrini

  • Judge orders parties to meet monthly in an effort to reach an agreement. Orders Governor’s counsel to be at July status Conference

June 5, 1995 Meet with intervenors to develop general guidelines for a settlement

July 6, 1995 PARSS and ASDE agree on joint statement, then sent to Judge Pellegrini

July 6, 1995 Joint statement presented to defendants at meeting

July 10, 1995 Status Conference with Judge Pellegrini

  • Judge orders continued meetings, Judge suggests legislative remediation. Defendants say they will make a proposal
  • Request by defendants to extend time for expert report to September 1, 1995 with responses by October 1, 1995 agreed to by Judge Pellegrini

August 17, 1995 PARSS presents its plan for funding and taxation

August 18, 1995 Presentation made to legislative staff

August 21, 1994 Presentation made to Secretary Hickok and his staff

September 13, 1995 Status Conference with Judge Pellegrini

  • Judge continues settlement efforts
  • Defendants indicate that a commission will be established to look at school funding.
  • Extends expert witness report deadline to November 1, 1995, orders that this be the last extension.

September 29, 1995 PARSS is asked to host an equity meeting between all four caucuses in the House and Senate and the administration

October 16, 1995 Executive Order establishing Educational Finance Commission

October 19, 1995 Status Conference with Judge Pellegrini

  • Governor presents his plan to establish an Educational Finance Commission that would contain nine members- 4 from the administration and 5 chosen from other interested parties. Judge accepts the commission, whose report will be due in May . Expert witness report would be due on November 1, 1995. Status conference is scheduled for February 22, 1996. Advises both parties that a summer trial date will be set if the commission findings are not acceptable to him.

November 1, 1995 Meeting with four caucus representatives

November 6, 1995 Defendants expert witness report is submitted.

February 1996 (Exact date unknown) Governor’s Commission has its first organizational meeting

  • Members are Secretary of Education Eugene Hickok, Chairman, Secretary of the Budget Robert Bittenbender, Charles Zogby, Director of Policy, Greg Dunlap, Assistant Attorney General, Sam Hayes, former House Republican Whip, Michael Hanlon, V.P. Garnet Valley School District and associate in Blade Rhone, etc. Law firm, Jospeh Soba, Urania Engineers, and either former or curent member of the Hazleton Area School Board, Barbara Vanyo co-owner of a private business in Somerset County, J. Patrick Terlingo, Superintendent of the North Star School District.

February 14, 1996 Status Conference with Judge Pellegrini- pretrial order and preparation for trial.Judge orders Governor’s Educational Finance Commission to have their report to him by May 29, 1996

February 20,1996 Expert witness Dr. Ronald Fairley deposed

April 3, 1996 Govenor’s Commission has public hearing (only one so far)

April 15, 1996 Rebuttal to expert witness report is submitted

April 15, 1996 Original PARSS expert witness report redone with 93-94 numbers

May 2, 1996 Judge Smith in Philadelphia Case attempts to get Commission documents early, eventually denied access until May 29,1996

May 24, 1996 Plaintiffs attempt to bifurcate the trial – legal arguments /remedy

May 29, 1996 Commission Report given to judge and plaintiffs

May 30, 1996 Pretrial conference with Judge Pellegrini. He attempts to have a settlement based on “Core Quality Education”

June 4, 1996 Additional Settlement Meeting

June 10, 1996 Final Settlement Meeting Judge sets trial date at August 5, 1996

June 24, 1996 Defendants do not have a specific proposal to make and cannot see agreement in the foreseeable future and therefore want to go to trial

July 2, 1996 Defendants not willing to bifurcate, say that all plaintiffs want is a declaratory judgment

July 11, 1996 Defendants request a delay in trial because of the illness of chief legal counsel

July 12, 1996 Judge Pellegrini grants the delay

August 7,1996 Additional Stipulations sent to defendants

August 12,1996 Meeting with ASDE to plan strategy

August 13, 1996 Lawyers meet with new counsel for defendants

August 16, 1996 List of defendants to plaintiffs- Ross Blust, Dean Steinhardt, Barbara Nelson, Gene Hickok, Peter Thompson, Roger Hummel, Amy Morton, William Fairly

August 19, 1996 All materials, witnesses, agreed upon stipulations to judge

August 26, 1996 Meeting with Judge Pellegrini to set trial date.

  • Judge Pellegrini decides that with the advent of the decision in the Philadelphia Human Relations case, he will wait for the Supreme Court review of the case, so that he will have the benefit of their decision.Judge Pellegrini sets the trial date.

January 6, 1997 Beginning of trial

January 27, 1997– Trial ends after 16 days

September 6, 1997– Final arguments in the case

March 3, 1998– Marrero case in Philadelphia is decided as non-justifiable. Only the legislature can decide what is “thorough and efficient.”

July 3, 1998 Commonwealth Court decides that PARSS v. Ridge is not justifiable.

September 6, 1998 Upon appeal from PARSS, the Supreme court halts the case in Commonwealth court and removes the case under King’s Bench Power.

December 14, 1998 Plaintiffs briefs are due in Supreme Court

January 31, 1999 Defendants briefs are due in Supreme Court

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