Commonwealth Court ruled Tuesday that Discovery Charter School in West Philadelphia can appeal to the state its case for adding students because the Philadelphia School Reform Commission refused to vote on the school's expansion request.
The three-judge panel sent the case back to the state Charter Appeal Board, which said in April 2014 that it had no jurisdiction because the SRC had never acted on the school's request for an amendment.
Commonwealth Court said that the SRC's inaction constituted a denial and that Discovery had the right to present its case to the appeals board.
The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools lauded the ruling and said it could affect charter schools across the state. Robert Fayfich, the coalition's executive director, said, "We are pleased with the Commonwealth Court's ruling."
When Discovery was up for renewal in 2012, the K-8 school asked the SRC to amend its charter so it could expand in 2013-14. The school's previous charter limited enrollment to 620. Discovery asked the SRC for an amendment to allow it to grow to 1,050 by 2017-18.
Citing the district's financial problems, the SRC announced it would not allow any city charter schools to expand in 2013-14. The commission renewed Discovery's charter, but kept the limit at 620.
After the ruling, Kevin M. McKenna, Discovery's attorney, said the school "now looks forward to being heard by the Charter Appeal Board on the merits of the case in a timely manner."