Philadelphia officials say that a philanthropy and a consulting firm did not violate lobbying regulations in their work with the school district.
The ruling by the city's ethics board rejects a complaint filed by public education advocates against the William Penn Foundation and Boston Consulting Group.
William Penn helped pay the consultant to analyze the struggling district last year. Advocates contend the arrangement allowed the groups to push unpopular reforms behind closed doors.
The complaint argued that the foundation and consultant should have registered under the city's lobbying law. Registration compels public disclosure of donors and meetings with officials.
The ethics board concluded Dec. 6 that while it appeared the consultant worked for William Penn, the firm was actually supervised by the school district.