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Buyout

NEWS
September 8, 2011 | By Susan Snyder and Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writers
The effort to raise $405,000 in private donations to help buy out former Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman's contract has unraveled, leaving the Philadelphia School District on the hook for nearly $1 million. "The public concerns about the use of anonymous private donations led almost all donors to withdraw their pledges," the School Reform Commission said in a statement released Wednesday night. Ackerman got a buyout of $905,000 - $405,000 of which was to come from donations to a nonprofit with ties to the district.
NEWS
September 2, 2011 | By Susan Snyder, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia School District's legal office is reviewing critical public comments that former Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman made last week about a top district administrator to see whether they violate her $905,000 separation agreement. Just three days after the announcement of the acrimonious end to her superintendency, Ackerman last Thursday ripped chief financial officer Michael Masch on WURD-AM (900) in talking about the district's $600-million-plus budget hole. "People are blaming it on me," she said.
NEWS
September 1, 2011
PHILADELPHIA SCHOOL DISTRICT principals rejected a deal this week that included givebacks to the district. Their union president suggested the district isn't as hard-up financially as it says, and pointed to the recent buyout of Arlene Ackerman, for nearly $1 million, as evidence. This shows that the aftershock - or maybe it's post-storm flooding? - of the Ackerman buyout continues. The anonymous donations to her payout remain a problem. The public has no idea what the donors might expect in return.
NEWS
August 29, 2011 | By Amy Worden, Inquirer Staff Writer
From Massachusetts to California, a rising number of school superintendents who find themselves at odds with their boards of education are enjoying softer landings thanks to generous farewell fees tucked into their contracts. The $905,000 golden parachute announced with the departure last week of Philadelphia School Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman is by all accounts the biggest buyout bonanza to date, at least in Pennsylvania. But even as Ackerman's exit was making headlines, it was announced that Allentown's school superintendent, former state education secretary Gerald Zahorchak, was awarded a deal that let him stay on as a "strategist" with no specific duties at his $195,000 salary - along with a $50,000 lump-sum payment.
NEWS
August 28, 2011
Reform was slow in coming at DRPA While I agree wholeheartedly with Delaware River Port Authority Vice Chairman Jeffrey Nash that the DRPA has made significant reforms in recent years ("Determined to earn the public trust," July 31), it has not been an easy, or even unanimous, process. For the bulk of my tenure on the board, I was the lone voice opposing the spending of toll and fare revenues on economic development projects. I was finally able to pass a resolution last August to prohibit the agency from using any funds under its control for projects that are not directly connected to the bridges or the commuter train.
NEWS
August 26, 2011
ADD FORMER Philadelphia School District CEO Paul Vallas to the long list of people furious about the $905,000 bye-bye buyout approved this week to send Arlene Ackerman packing. Vallas isn't angry at the exiting superintendent. He's fighting mad at Mayor Nutter for green-lighting the deal and City Controller Alan Butkovitz for laying low as it all went down. Nutter and Butkovitz publicly scrutinized the $180,000 that Vallas received from the district four years ago when he left to run the New Orleans School District.
NEWS
August 25, 2011 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Outrage at the Philadelphia School Reform Commission bubbled over Wednesday when it unanimously approved a buyout approaching $1 million for former Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman. The commission did not offer comment, answer questions, or discuss the controversial package at the raucous racially and politically charged meeting. Ackerman's payment includes $905,000 - from $500,000 in district funds and $405,000 in private, anonymous donations funneled through a nonprofit with ties to the Philadelphia School District.
NEWS
August 24, 2011 | By Amy Worden and Jennifer Lin, Inquirer Staff Writers
HARRISBURG - With nearly half the cash needed to buy out Philadelphia School Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman cloaked in secrecy, Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner is launching a probe to get to the bottom of the $405,000 in private contributions to pay her. At a news conference Tuesday, Wagner called the Ackerman buyout "the granddaddy" of recent deals to remove school district executives in the state. "There is a proliferation of buyouts in school districts," Wagner said.
NEWS
August 24, 2011 | By Jeff Gammage and Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writers
The departure of city School Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman turns the focus to the board that hired her and paid her to leave - and particularly to its quiet, well-connected chairman. When Robert L. Archie Jr. takes his seat Wednesday on the School Reform Commission, as he's done for more than two years, he will face new and discomfiting questions. Among them: Why did the commission extend Ackerman's contract in February, only to agree to pay her a $905,000 buyout on Monday?
NEWS
August 23, 2011 | BY DAFNEY TALES, talesd@phillynews.com 215-854-5084
  BACK IN MARCH, the leadership of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman was exemplary enough that the School Reform Commission extended her contract for another year. But it didn't take long for the commissioners to realize the error of their ways, it seems. By June, they launched a campaign to raise funds to buy her out. Yesterday, they paid the 64-year-old Ackerman more than $500,000 in taxpayer dollars and $405,000 from "anonymous private contributions" to leave, ending her tumultuous three-year tenure in Philadelphia, which included continued rises in test scores but seemingly nonstop political and public-relations missteps.
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