Complaint: SRC Violated Pennsylvania Sunshine Act
As anticipated, public school activists have filed a complaint against the School Reform Commission, charging the SRC violated the state’s Sunshine Act when it unilaterally canceled the teachers’ contract last month.
The Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools and member Lisa Haver filed the complaint. Though the SRC meeting that canceled the teachers’ contracts was done on a Monday morning with little notice, the SRC published an ad in the Inquirer and on Philly.com that Sunday. The state’s Sunshine Act requires public meetings to be advertised at least 24 hours in advance.
But the lawsuit says those advertisements did not fulfill the Sunshine Act’s requirements.
Calling it one of the “most massive and stunning decisions in the history” of the school district, the complaint says the SRC “directly violated both the explicit letter and spirit of Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act.”
The complaint alleges the meeting violated the law because it was “deliberately scheduled in such a way to prevent public attendance.” The 17-minute meeting did not allow public comment.
“This flagrant and deliberate violation of law follows a long pattern and practice of the SRC whereby most (if not almost all) real debate and decisions occur in secret and are merely rubberstamped in public,” the complaint reads, “with public input only after the real decisions have been made.”
Read the full lawsuit below.