40K signatures and a microphone

Posted: May 30, 2014

A GROUP OF about 50 public-school advocates gathered outside City Hall yesterday, calling for the abolition of the School Reform Commission and the defeat of Gov. Corbett in November.

Backed by the political organization Pennsylvania Working Families, the demonstration was aimed at amending the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter to replace the state-appointed SRC with a local school board.

Calling Corbett an "absentee, slumlord for a governor," among other digs, the group delivered 40,000 petition signatures to City Council's chief clerk, hoping to get the charter-change question on the November ballot. It reads as follows:

"Shall the Home Rule Charter be amended to call upon the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the Governor to abolish the School Reform Commission and return local control of Philadelphia's schools?"

To boos and jeers at the mention of Corbett's name, Gabe Morgan, district director of SEIU Local 32BJ, called the SRC a failure.

"The SRC has failed because it is not responsible to the people of Philadelphia. It is responsible to Harrisburg," Morgan said.

Because the state ultimately controls the school district, a referendum on the SRC would be nonbinding, but advocates hope it serves as another push to get Democratic Philly voters to the polls.


On Twitter: @RuffTuffDH

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