The state Supreme Court’s decision to side with the Philadelphia teachers’ union in holding the Philadelphia School Reform Commission could not cancel an expired collective bargaining agreement may presage the treatment of similar contract disputes in other distressed school districts and municipalities, education and labor attorneys say.

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Monday in Philadelphia Federation of Teachers v. School District of Philadelphia that collective bargaining agreements for the teachers’ union fit into an exception to the commission’s contract-cancellation powers. The ruling, which affirmed a decision by the Commonwealth Court, hinged on the meaning of the term “teachers’ contracts” in Section 693(a)(1) of the School Code, according to Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor, who wrote the opinion.

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