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Erie County, Empower Erie, and Post & Schell Secure Approval for New Community College from Pennsylvania Board of Education

On July 9, 2020, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education (the Board) voted 10-5 in favor of the City of Erie’s application for a new community college. The vote follows the Board’s 9-6 vote granting preliminary approval of the plan on June 11, 2020, after a lengthy two-day hearing where the County of Erie successfully illustrated that it met all statutory requirements for approval of a community college. The plan had been vehemently opposed, including by State Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson).

It marks the first time in almost 30 years that the Board has approved a new community college in Pennsylvania.

The approval follows a more than three-year process following a June 2017 vote by the Erie County Council approving a plan to establish a new community college to serve the county and to have the county support the proposed institution as its local sponsor. The plan was submitted to the Board on July 3, 2017.

Post & Schell served as lead counsel for the County of Erie and handled all aspects of the litigation, witness examination, expert reports, and opening and closing arguments. Post & Schell Principals James J. Kutz and Michael W. Winfield represented the County of Erie.