The termination status, as pointed out in another note, is not the same as the exit status from the process. However, something like "pclose($fp)/256" is not the correct way to extract the exit status, since this uses system- and version-specific knowledge of where in the termination status the exit status is stored. (Also, the process may not even have exited normally, so it may not have an exit status at all.)
Instead, the functions pcntl_wifexited() and pcntl_wexitstatus() should be used. They are wrappers for the C macros WIFEXITED() and WEXITSTATUS() that are designed for determining whether the process had an exit status and what that status was, respectively.