Either way, "the public has a right to know the costs of bringing and keeping the new superintendent here," Zack Stalberg, the committee's chief operating officer, said in a statement. "Maximum transparency and full deliberation is especially important given the School District's grave financial situation and the past history of secrecy surrounding deals made with ex-Superintendent Arlene Ackerman by the former SRC."
Stalberg acknowledged that while disclosing the specifics of the contract while it was being negotiated could be dicey, "the SRC can help diffuse a potential firestorm by providing some general information about the discussions with the two finalists for superintendents rather than risk the details leaking out in bits and pieces."
Ackerman's "overly generous" package should be kept in mind, the committee said. It urged the SRC to "tie performance bonuses to objective criteria with public input"; to make any superintendent performance evaluation public; to establish "modest financial caps" for any buyout package; to limit the initial term to five years; and to eliminate retention bonuses.
In response, Pritchett issued a statement saying, "We thank Zack Stalberg and the Committee of Seventy for their advice on this very important issue. We plan to make this process as transparent as possible and will be releasing further information regarding the contract process in the near future. The SRC is committed to making sure that a superintendent contract is fair to the children of Philadelphia and the city's taxpayers."