FAQs

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Civil Rights and Tort Litigation

What types of cases are handled by the Civil Rights and Tort Unit?

  • This Unit defends the School District when it is sued by people claiming to have been injured as the result of the District’s alleged negligence or alleging violations of their civil rights. The attorneys in this Unit handle cases filed in both state and federal courts.

Does the School District have insurance to cover claims for personal injury or civil rights claims, motor vehicle accidents or property damage?

  • No. The School District, like the City of Philadelphia, is self insured.

What law governs personal injury claims against the School District?

  • The Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act governs claims against all Pennsylvania municipal entities, including the School District. The Act grants immunity to the School District except in certain types of matters. Only certain types of claims, such as some motor vehicle accidents and certain types of accidents on school property, may be actionable against the School District under the Act. The Act also limits the amount and types of damages that may be recovered.

How do I file a claim for personal injury or property damage?

  • You can find information on filing a claim here.

Contracts/Transactional

Whom do I call to initiate review of a completed and fully-signed Limited Contract?

  • Pamela Wilkinson at (215) 400-4010

May my office use a Limited Contract for services that have already been performed?

  • No. The limited contract process may be used only for services that are to be performed in the future. Offices should try to send the Limited Contract Review Committee the completed and fully-signed limited contract at least two weeks before the services are to start. If the services have already started or are completed, you must use the resolution process to obtain authorization after the fact for the contract.

May a Limited Contract be used to purchase services across fiscal years?

  • Ordinarily, no. If the contract is funded by a grant and the granting funding extends over the end of one fiscal year into the next, a Limited Contract may be used.

May a Limited Contract be used to purchase supplies?

  • No. Limited contracts are to be used only for the purchase of services or in connection with a site rental. If the purchase of services includes the purchase of supplies, a limited contract may be used if the value of the supplies is small compared to the value of the services.

Is a Limited Contract vendor required to demonstrate that is has liability and other insurance?

  • Yes. The insurance requirements are set forth in the Standard Terms and Conditions part of the Limited Contract. The Office of Risk Management will review each vendor’s proof of insurance and may in certain circumstances require the vendor to show proof of insurance coverage(s) beyond the requirements set forth in the standard terms.

Does the School District of Philadelphia have published policies and procedures for the purchase of supplies, materials, equipment or services?

School Law

May my child be suspended for 10 days for a school code violation without an informal hearing that includes the parents?

  • Yes. The principal or his/her designee must inform the student who is going to be suspended of the alleged violation as well as give the student a chance to respond. After that conference with the student, the principal or designee must then send the parent the notice of the suspension, including the length of the suspension and the day that the student can return to school.

May a child who is home-schooled participate in extra-curricular activities?

  • Yes. Pennsylvania law provides for this as long as the activities are classified as extra-curricular.

Special Education

What is a due process hearing?

  • A due process hearing is an administrative legal proceeding before a neutral state-appointed hearing officer. This type of hearing can be requested by a parent or the District to resolve a dispute about a student’s eligibility or identification under IDEA, the educational placement of a student or the provision of free appropriate public education to a student.

 

What is a “Service Agreement?”

  • A Service Agreement is also called a “Section 504 Service Agreement.” These agreements come from Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires the District to provide “reasonable accommodations” to students who demonstrate that they have a disability that significantly impacts school performance. This agreement is not the same as an IEP under IDEA.

Public Records Requests

Does The School District of Philadelphia have an Open Records or Public Records policy?

How does the School District process Right-to-Know Law requests? 

  • Detailed information is available here.