On April 12, Excellent Schools PA, acting on behalf of 87 charter schools, filed a lawsuit to bar the School District of Philadelphia from enforcing portions of controversial Policy 406, which was adopted by the School Reform Commission last month. Policy 406 severely restricts charter operations and enrollment policies by imposing mandates on charter schools above what is allowed by Pennsylvania Charter School Law.
The lawsuit was filed today in Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia by Patricia Hennessy, Kathleen Nagle and Barron Flood of Conrad O’Brien's Education Law practice. The complaint asks the Court to declare certain provisions of Policy 406 unlawful and to bar enforcement. Adopted by the School Reform Commission on March 22, 2018, the new policy forces charter schools to seek approval for virtually any change to a charter’s curriculum and its operating facilities, while also attempting to impose unilateral enrollment caps despite numerous court rulings that clearly prohibit local districts from doing so. The suit alleges that four specific provisions of Policy 406 violate state law on charter schools: 1) provisions related to changes in charter facilities; 2) provisions related to District control over a charter’s curriculum; 3) requirements that illegally impose unilateral enrollment caps; and 4) provisions that allow the District to consider the financial impact of charter amendments, which is prohibited under Pennsylvania’s charter school law.
This suit was filed after the School District of Philadelphia and its Charter School Office refused requests from charter schools to negotiate compromise language for Policy 406, choosing to implement these restrictive and unlawful regulations.
Read the full filing here.