July 4, 2011
What is the SRC thinking? For the most part, the current Philadelphia School Reform Commission plays its cards close to the vest. Other than occasionally offering comments when voting on a resolution or listening to a staff presentation at an SRC meeting, Chairman Robert L. Archie Jr. and Commissioners Johnny Irizarry, Joseph Dworetzky, and Denise McGregor Armbrister rarely speak out. But at a special meeting last week, parent Christine Carlson had...
June 21, 2011 |
Though it faces long odds in a Republican-controlled legislature, a group of Philadelphia Democrats hopes to help the city teachers' union by stripping the School Reform Commission of its extraordinary powers. Legislation introduced Monday would take away the SRC's ability to terminate collective-bargaining agreements and lay off without regard to seniority. It comes in response to the SRC's promise to cancel contracts and impose terms on its five unions if they do not agree to $75 million in givebacks to help bridge the Philadelphia School District's massive budget gap. June 30 is the deadline set by the SRC for the givebacks.
October 5, 2007
THE LATEST EXAMPLE of nonexistent financial oversight of the cash-strapped School District of Philadelphia would be funny if it wasn't so depressing. In an incredible combination of irony and incompetence, school district officials "lost" a $470,000 partially completed study that was supposed to show how the district could make improvements and save money. The study was part of a broad review of the district by Evergreen Solutions of Tallahassee, Fla., and its project manager, Noreen Timoney, wife of the former police commissioner, John Timoney.
May 11, 2010
AS HAS been reported, the School Reform Commission recently awarded Superintendent Arlene Ackerman a performance bonus provided for in her employment agreement. We did so for two reasons. 1.) We insisted when we hired Dr. Ackerman, just as the SRC had done with her predecessor Paul Vallas, that a performance bonus was a critical component of the contract. If we are going to stress accountability, it should be coupled with incentives. 2.) Dr. Ackerman has produced documented, measurable results that have set the stage for Philadelphia public schools to dramatically improve.
August 15, 2007
Sandra Dungee Glenn has been called the hardest-working member of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission. She will put her energy to work as the SRC's chairperson once James Nevels steps down next month. Glenn, chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Phila.) when he was a state senator, has the required knowledge of school issues and the desire to help the district's 174,000 students. But she will need more than those qualities to lead the SRC. Her two biggest challenges will be to restore a sense of collaboration between the SRC and district administrators - and to limit the intrusion of politics into district decision-making.
August 15, 2010
Superintendent Arlene Ackerman's compensation has been the dominant story about the Philadelphia School District for weeks. The public certainly has every right to fully scrutinize public officials' performance and pay, but we at the School Reform Commission are concerned that all the attention being directed to Ackerman's compensation is taking focus away from where it should be - making even greater gains in the coming school year. I feel compelled to repeat points already placed on the record.
March 11, 2010 |
A laundry list of parents, politicians and other supporters showed up to the School Reform Commission meeting yesterday to defend South Philly High principal LaGreta Brown after a cartoon in Tuesday's Inquirer depicted her as sleeping on the job. Michael Lerner, president of the principals' union, said the paper took a "cheap shot" at Brown, calling her an easy target because of the assaults on a number of Asian students at the school in...
June 25, 2009 |
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission yesterday postponed a vote on renewing the operating charter for the embattled New Media Technology Charter School to give its staff more time to investigate the school's finances. SRC Chairman Robert L. Archie Jr. said the charter resolution was withdrawn at the recommendation of district staff. The commission delayed a decision a month ago to give staff time to address questions about academics and allegations of financial mismanagement at the charter in Northwest Philadelphia.
October 16, 2008 |
The Germantown Settlement Charter School, beset by financial difficulties and under investigation by law-enforcement agencies, must shut down, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission unanimously voted yesterday. The commission also voted to close the 212-student Renaissance Charter School in Mount Airy. Both schools have been open since 1999 and were denied five-year charter renewals. The decisions to close the schools are the first since charter schools opened in Philadelphia in 1999.