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Jerry Jordan on PA Supreme Court's Ruling on "W. Phila. Achievement Charter vs. SDP and the SRC"
In a major decision, The PA Supreme Court today ruled that the SRC cannot waive portions of the school code.

PHILADELPHIA--"The PA Supreme Court today issued a ruling that has huge ramifications for Philadelphia's educators, the PFT and our schoolchildren, particularly in light of the School Reform Commission's irrational decision to approve three more charter schools.

"The SRC routinely cites PA Act 696 as the rationale for the adverse actions they have taken against PFT members and public schools over the past few years, including school closings and the improper layoff and restoration of school counselors. Today's ruling by the Court declares that Act 696 is unconstitutional, and the SRC CANNOT waive school code provisions it finds inconvenient.

"On the other other hand, the ruling also removes enrollment caps from charter schools. This means that the three new charter schools approved by the SRC will place even more of a strain on the District's already overstretched budget. Now more than ever, the PFT is reiterating its call for a moratorium on new charter schools because Philadelphia simply cannot afford any more conversions. 

"With tonight's vote, the SRC has taken another step toward bankrupting the school district. The irresponsibility of the SRC's actions provides more evidence that body needs to be abolished in favor of local control of our children's schools.

"The ruling from the PA Supreme Court is indeed a 'double-edged sword' for our schoolchildren. Though it seems to place much-needed checks and balances on an SRC run amok, it also has the potential to put our school district finances in an extremely precarious position. 

"Although litigants in this case are West Philadelphia Achievement Charter, the School District and the SRC, the Court's ruling has a significant impact on the PFT. Our attorneys are currently reviewing the ruling to determine how it will impact our members."

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Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 3, AFL-CIO. All rights reserved. Photographs and illustrations, as well as text, cannot be used without permission from the PFT.