Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools to Sue Bill Green, SRC Over Teacher Contracts

The battle over education in Philadelphia marches on.

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Almost one month after Bill Green and his controversial School Reform Commission voted unanimously and unilaterally to cancel the labor contract for the approximately 15,000 teachers in the Philadelphia public school system, it looks like the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools and schools activist Lisa Haver, one of the founders of the alliance, are taking Green, the SRC and the School District of Philadelphia to court.

Late on Tuesday afternoon, attorney Mark Zecca, formerly a veteran of the city’s law department and candidate for City Controller, filed a writ of summons in Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Haver and the alliance, naming Green, the SRC and the district as defendants.

A writ of summons is a notice that a lawsuit is forthcoming, and it preserves a plaintiff’s right-to-sue after the statute of limitations might have otherwise run out.

Reached on Wednesday morning en route to personally serve Green and the other defendants with the writ, Zecca explained that the upcoming suit will center on the SRC’s meeting on Monday, October 6th, when the commission voted to cancel the contract. Green and the SRC were criticized for the meeting, since very few people knew it was happening.

Zecca suggests that this meeting violated Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act, which requires that any government meeting in which deliberation or official action by a quorum of its members occurs must be open to the public, and public notice must have been made of the meeting. The SRC did advertise the meeting, but very stealthily.

The statute of limitations for any claims under the Sunshine Act is 30 days, and Zecca’s writ comes in just before that deadline.

Green did not immediately return a call for comment.

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