But with four new members on the School Reform Commission, including former WPF chief Feather Houstoun, it concluded that the board is now willing to fix the problems.
"I am convinced this SRC is willing to look reality in the face," said Nowak, who replaced Houstoun as president last year.
The SRC approved a one-month, $1.4 million contract with the Boston Consulting Group last Thursday. The firm will work with Thomas Knudsen, the district's new chief recovery officer, to help the district plug a $38.8 million hole this year and plan a budget that overcomes a hole of at least $269 million for next year. It will also help the district decentralize its operations, giving more control to individual schools.
Nowak praised the Boston Consulting Group for moving quickly to assemble a diverse team that's ready to turn the district "inside out."
Nowak formerly served as president of Mastery Charter School's Board of Trustees for seven years. He said that it's time for the district to move forward by focusing on schools that are working.
"I think there are some great charter schools, and I think there are some great district schools," he said. "We're at a place where we can no longer be ideological."
It's unclear whether William Penn - which helps to fund It's Our Money, a collaboration between the Daily News and WHYY - will donate more money to the district.
However, Nowak and SRC Chairman Pedro Ramos will soon approach charities and corporations for financial support.