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NEWS
May 29, 2014 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court gave a rare bit of good news Tuesday to the cash-strapped Philadelphia School Reform Commission. The top court unanimously reversed a lower-court ruling that said the school district had illegally capped enrollment at Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School. The lower court had said the school should be paid $1.3 million from the district for students it had enrolled above the 675 enrollment maximum in its signed agreement. The Supreme Court overturned the lower court, said the charter was bound by the terms of an agreement it had signed with the district in 2005, and was not entitled to the additional money.
NEWS
May 18, 2014 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
The state Supreme Court has granted a temporary restraining order that bars the Philadelphia School Reform Commission from taking action against a charter school. It marks the first time the top court has entered the dispute over the powers the commission has to ignore state law in order to protect its finances by managing charter enrollment. On Thursday, the court approved West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary School's request to decide whether the law that led to the state takeover of the district in 2001 permits the SRC to suspend parts of other laws to deal with the district's financial crisis.
NEWS
May 2, 2014 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Parents and community members, anguished by a proposed Philadelphia School District budget that could mean 1,000 layoffs and class sizes swelling to 41, lashed out Wednesday night at the School Reform Commission, describing the situation inside schools as "dangerous," "insanity," even "institutionalized child abuse. " Chairman Bill Green, at whom much of the anger was directed, did not disagree. "Make no mistake," he said in response to more than two hours of outrage from the public.
NEWS
April 27, 2014 | By Kristen A. Graham and Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writers
PHILADELPHIA At the end of a marathon meeting, the School Reform Commission voted late Thursday to begin the process of suspending the charter of the Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners School. It also adopted a new charter policy and renewed the charters of several schools. Four commissioners supported the resolution to begin shutdown proceedings for Palmer. Sylvia Simms voted no, but did not explain why. Farah Jimenez said she voted yes reluctantly. The charter policy passed by a 4-1 vote as well.
NEWS
April 25, 2014 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA The Philadelphia School Reform Commission's powers to suspend portions of the state law covering charter schools may have hit a snag. A Common Pleas Court judge ruled Monday that the law that led to the state takeover of city schools in 2001 did not give the SRC the power to cap their enrollment to ease the district's financial woes. "This court clearly recognizes and understands the severe conditions which exist in the Philadelphia School District," Judge Gary S. Glazer wrote in an opinion dealing with the SRC's efforts to cap enrollment at five city charters.
NEWS
April 24, 2014 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphians want the School Reform Commission abolished and the city's public schools returned to local control, the city teachers union said Tuesday. Nearly 97 percent of more than 3,000 city residents it surveyed - mostly public school parents - want the state takeover to end, said Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan. The SRC was created in 2001 as a way to rapidly change a school district that was ailing financially and academically. Though the district has made incremental academic gains, it is fiscally in much worse shape than it was 13 years ago. City Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell said she would introduce a nonbinding resolution endorsing the idea of local control, and Jordan said the union would try to have a nonbinding referendum placed on the November ballot asking all city voters to weigh in. "The number-one issue people are talking about is schools," State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila.)
NEWS
April 17, 2014 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Most Philadelphia voters disagree with the way the School Reform Commission is handling its responsibilities. They're dissatisfied with Gov. Corbett's positions on public education. And they side with teachers in an ongoing contract dispute with the Philadelphia School District by a ratio of 4-1 - or so says a poll commissioned by the teachers union. The findings come from a new survey of 554 registered voters commissioned by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and conducted by a Democratic polling firm, Washington-based Hart Research Associates.
NEWS
April 16, 2014 | BY REGINA MEDINA, Daily News Staff Writer medinar@phillynews.com, 215-854-5985
THE PHILADELPHIA School Partnership and PennCAN, two controversial education-reform groups, want the state's highest court to decide whether the School Reform Commission can impose work-rule changes on teachers. The two pro-school-choice organizations sought the review in an amicus brief filed yesterday with the state Supreme Court. It "is crucial for this Court to fully consider this case and breathe life into the legislative command that the [SRC] is to be empowered with the flexibility to quickly respond in times of budgetary crisis and provide for the long-term sustainability of City public education," the filing read.
NEWS
April 9, 2014 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission told the state Supreme Court on Monday it's important for the court to rule quickly on whether the commission has the power to impose work rule changes for teachers next fall. The SRC's filing is the latest volley in a legal dispute between the SRC and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers over the powers granted to the commission by the law that led to the 2001 state takeover of city schools. Two weeks ago, the commission asked the state's top court to declare that it has the authority to make unilateral work-rule changes, including disregarding seniority for teacher assignments, transfers, layoffs, and recalls.
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