Legal battle between SRC and PFT heads to Commonwealth Court

The legal battle over whether the School Reform Commission can impose benefit changes on teachers has shifted to Commonwealth Court, which could hear arguments in the dispute as early as December.

On Monday, a Common Pleas Court judge made an injunction permanent that delays any benefit changes until the matter is resolved in court, and the District appealed that ruling to Commonwealth Court. 

Both sides said they are pleased by the outcome of the latest legal maneuvers.

The District says that the legal proceedings will accelerate a final resolution in court of the extent of the SRC’s powers. The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers says the ruling points the parties back to the bargaining table, a move that the District says it remains open to. 

While the resolution of this case plays out, the PFT has agreed to pause its motions for expedited arbitration and a ruling by the state Labor Relations Board.

“This is a great step,” said District spokesman Fernando Gallard. “It allows us to go directly to Commonwealth Court and have it decide the very important issues that are on the table.”

In a statement, PFT president Jerry Jordan said, “This ruling emphasizes what the PFT has been saying all along: these and other economic issues need to be worked out at the bargaining table, not the courtroom.

“As I have said before, the PFT is ready to return to the table to negotiate a contract with the School District.”

This is a developing story. Check back with The Notebook for more details.

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