"Now that schools have opened successfully, a budget has been adopted for the fiscal year and an acting superintendent has been appointed, I have determined that I should conclude my service on the School Reform Commission," the statement said. "The Mayor should have the opportunity to carry out his educational programs and objectives with a new group of appointees to the commission."
Mayor Nutter, who appointed Archie, said that he did not ask for the resignation.
"I think the chairman was always concerned about the children of Philadelphia and focused on their education," Nutter said.
Interestingly, just hours after Archie quit, Nutter's other appointee, Johnny Irizarry, also resigned.
Nutter said that he would soon announce new appointees for the volunteer board, which oversees the 151,000-student district and its nearly $3 billion budget.
The SRC has been in place since 2001, when the state took over the city's schools. The governor appoints three of the board's five members, but because one of those seats was already unfilled, the board now has just two members, not enough to hold votes.
The Nutter administration also said that it would soon release a long-awaited report from Nutter's chief integrity officer that probes the award of a charter school contract for Martin Luther King High School.
Archie was drawn into that controversy in the spring, when it was revealed that he called a private meeting with Mosaica, the school operator favored by parents, not long before Mosaica withdrew from contention for the job. A politically connected New Jersey nonprofit, Foundations Inc., got the contract, although it later pulled out after press reports of the backroom negotiations.
The plot thickened over the weekend, when Ackerman told The Public School Notebook and WHYY/NewsWorks that she was threatened that embarrassing personal financial information would be leaked to the press if she didn't give the contract to Foundations. Ackerman did not say who made the threat.
Archie's resignation statement did not mention the King High School contract.
Regardless of the reasons, many yesterday said Archie's departure was needed to close a difficult chapter at the school district.
Helen Gym, co-founder of Parents United for Public Education, said that Archie's tenure was marked by dysfunction.
"It was one massive pile-up," Gym said. "It was stunning, the number of failures that happened on his watch."
Before discussing replacements, Gym said that she'd like there to be a conversation about the responsibilities of the SRC.
"I'd really like to see some standards laid out," Gym said. "We get into trouble when we start naming names. There needs to be a clear description of what this job entails."
Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, also hailed yesterday's announcement as a step in the right direction.
"It is a very clear signal that a huge transition is taking place in the leadership of the School District of Philadelphia," Jordan said. "I look forward to the transition being a very positive one that will allow labor and management to work together to improve the quality of education in our schools for our children."
The two departures, coupled with other pending changes at the SRC, mean that the board could look very different in the months ahead.
After yesterday's resignations, just two board members remain, both gubernatorial appointees - Denise McGregor Armbrister and Joseph Dworetzky. Armbrister's term is set to expire soon and Dworetzky has moved to California, though he plans to return for meetings.
Meanwhile, Gov. Corbett has nominated former School Board President and City Solicitor Pedro Ramos to fill the vacant gubernatorial slot, but his nomination must be approved by the state Senate.
- Daily News reporter Valerie Russ contributed to this story