August 28, 2015

Big victory for charter schools in Philadelphia

By Joshua P. Thompson Senior Attorney

The Commonwealth Court issued a major victory to charter schools in Philadelphia yesterday when it ruled the Philadelphia School District cannot unilaterally decide to ignore state law. In a case that PLF has been following very closely, the school district had tried to suspend state law law preventing it from imposing enrollment caps on charter schools.

As is the case with charter schools across the country, they often face stiff opposition from entrenched interests that don’t like the competition. So when charter schools proved to be successful in Philadelphia, the establishment wanted to stop them and capped the number of students they could enroll. The major problem with that — other than the fact that it denied parents and students the right to choose the best school — is that Pennsylvania state law specifically forbids it from imposing enrollment caps on charter schools. The Commonwealth court held that the school district cannot simply suspend state law on its own. We don’t yet know if the school district will appeal this decision, but if it does, PLF will be there fighting with the students.

This is a great decision and a great way to cap Back to School Choice Week here at PLF.

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