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Court Ruling Has Massive Implications For Phila. School District

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- As the School Reform Commission voted on new charter schools Tuesday night, the state Supreme Court dealt the district a major blow.

The SRC approved three of 12 applications for new charter schools:  Esperanza Elementary in Hunting Park, Russell Byers Academy in Center City, and KIPP in Strawberry Mansion.

"That's what we're really most excited about -- the opportunity to do more good in Philadelphia, which we were just granted tonight," said KIPP CEO Marc Mannella.

But during the meeting the state Supreme Court ruled that the SRC did not have the authority under state law to suspend the school code -- an action the Commission has used to cap charter enrollment and cancel seniority provisions of the teachers contract.  Commissioner Bill Green says it's unclear, what's next.

"This kind of pulls the rug out from many of the policies that we've taken to try to improve quality education for children in Philadelphia," said Green.

The court ruling came in a case involving West Philadelphia Achievement Charter School, which has challenged the District's authority to cap its enrollment.

The ruling could have a wide-ranging impact on many of the SRC's actions in which it claimed special powers granted by the state takeover law.

Green says the ruling could mean a reshuffling of teachers by seniority in the middle of this school year.

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