THANKSGIVING WEEKEND: Traffic | Travel Guide | Weather | Holiday Guide | Mall Hours

Arlene Ackerman Gets $905,000 Buyout As Philadelphia Schools Chief

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Arlene Ackerman is out as Philadelphia schools superintendent just two weeks before the new school year begins.

Her attorney, Robert Nix, confirmed this morning to KYW Newsradio that Ackerman’s reign as head of the Philadelphia school system is over, after working out a separation agreement that will give her her full salary for the remainder of her original five-year contract.

Ackerman has been under pressure for much of her tenure in Philadelphia, over several issues  (see previous story): racial violence at South Philadelphia High School, a no-bid contract awarded to a minority firm (see related story), and the whopping budget deficit (see related story).

The School Reform Commission issued a statement that Ackerman will be paid $905,000, comprised of $500,000 from the SRC and $405,000 from “anonymous private contributions.”

Critics wasted little time to point out two major issues with Dr. Ackerman’s buyout. The first is the sheer size – nearly $1 million. The second is where the money is coming from. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are coming from secret donors Mayor Michael Nutter says at least in part he helped solicit.

Parents United for a Public Education says “The $905,000 is an outrageous sum for a starving district where families and school staff are scrambling to meet basic needs.”

“The lack of transparency is outrageous,” says Zachary Stalberg of the government watchdog group Committee of 70.

He doesn’t like how the deal got done.

Private donors paying big money is a problem, according to Stalberg.

“Usually people give money and expect something in return. As long as it’s secret, the public has no idea weather someone ever gets in return for this money,” Stalberg said.

Read the Joint Statement on Ackerman’s Departure (.pdf format)

Nix says the agreement is in the best interest of both his client and the School District of Philadelphia.

“It’s for the benefit of the children, for a smooth transition that doesn’t go into some sort of ugly litigation or all kinds of things that can happen when a relationship comes to an end,” Nix told KYW Newsradio.

Nix says Ackerman has agreed to forego her salary for the one-year-contract extension the School Reform Commission gave her last February on the condition that the money be earmarked for the “promise academies” that were a key part of her “Imagine 2014” school reform plan (see related story).

The furor over Ackerman’s leadership came to a head earlier this year when it was suddenly revealed that the school district faced a deficit of more than $620 million.  Some of those involved in those negotiations to help the district deal with this massive deficit became unhappy with Ackerman’s leadership style, including top city officials.

An effort arose to see that she would depart much sooner than at the conclusion of her current contract, which runs through 2014.

Union Leaders React to Ackerman’s Departure

Ackerman’s deputy, Leroy Nunery, has been appointed acting superintendent while a national search is conducted for a permanent replacement.

Reported by Pat Loeb and Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio; Todd Quinones, CBS3


Top Content On CBSPhilly

  • Product of SDPhila

    This is what the School District of Philadelphia is teaching our kids today, that if you do a bad job you still get one million dollars cash after you lose your job.

  • rcerzosimo

    She should be given two weeks severance salary and shown the door…just like millions of others in this economy. If I were still a Philly resident, I’d be planning a rally on the school board right now.
    God good people…the school board and city government works for YOU! Stand up and tell them that this is unacceptable and will not happen. File a junction…something, anything…but do it now!

  • Colorless Love

    Whether you like Ackerman or dislike her, whether you agreed with her methods and ideas or not…. Explain to me 1. How do you get rewarded that greatly for doing a poor job? 2. How do you get a pay off that’s greater that the school district deficit? and 3. Who are these private donors?????

    • Angry Revolutionary

      The private donors were companies that were sick of her incompetence.

  • dmac

    This is about money ,Arlene took 7 mil from the white boys,and gave it to the black boys,its all about contracts,what needs to be done is the FBI needs to investigate

  • HH Fan

    Sc rew up big time and get rewarded with a million dollar payoff?

    Must be great being an A A hire. I’m sure some other city will hire her despite her incom petence.

  • Mayor Nutter Agrees: It Was Time For Ackerman To Go « CBS Philly

    […] Nutter said he was not directly involved in the negotiations to buy out Ackerman’s contract (see related story), but he supports the decision and is glad this got done before the school year begins, in just two […]

  • MrX

    WHERE IS THE BLACK CAUCUS and NAACP to the help poor DR.A from spending this 905,000$ USD?

    Who cares if she breeds mobsters.

  • thesampler

    They could have gotten her whacked for a fraction of that 905 million. Shame this isn’t Jersey.

    • Matt

      Wow, you are a f*cking idiot !!!

      • HH Fan

        Libta rds don’t know sarcasm when they see it. I’m still laughing.

  • Larry

    This is outrageous! We don’t even do this for our beloved sports figures.

    The Nutter administration should take full responsibility for this catastrophy!

    I am moving out of Philly and encouraging my firm to do the same.

  • Iisa

    I like how are property taxes just paid her bailout.

  • Mark Stoots

    As usual as you look at the comments there are and will be others that want to try to make this a color issue. That is the shame here, This woman was a disgrace and a detriment to our kids learning. She had the same history in her previous jobs but they hired her anyway (see PHA for same) Good riddance! This is NOT a color issue it is a ethic issue, if she really cared for HER kids here she would have just bowed ouot and not reamed the system for close to 1mil…

    • Money brings evil

      She made this a race issue as soon as she asked the black caucus and NAACP to get involved, but quickly took the cash bag off the table once it was delivered without counting it.

      She was really due 1.2 million.

    • Mindy

      BRAVO !!!!!!!!for you Mark Stoots. I am in total agreement with you.I wish that I would have said it first. THANKYOU,THANKYOU,THANKYOU !!!!!!!!

  • Peter

    have been trying to folow this in the news and have no clue as to what happened. The reporting is sketchy and full of innuendo at best. Why doesn’t anybody ever come out and say exactly what did this woman did that required her to be pushed out of her job?

  • With Ackerman’s Departure, Sighs Of Relief From Many Quarters « CBS Philly

    […] Federation of Teachers, prefers to stay positive about the superintendent’s departure (see related story).   He says he is pleased that the focus will go back on students and the start of the school […]

  • retired analyst

    Philadelphia you’re a robbery victim. What kind of gun was she using to steal that much from you?

  • richard hackett

    proving yet again what an utter money grubbing disgrace this women is.i hope the next city is forwarned before this con is let loose again.

  • Frank Wisniewski Jr

    Its about time!

  • JW

    Having recently retired from the military w/ not only combat experience, leadership and an ability to get things down, I have commanded a training unit responsible for training 37k thousand service members a year. Being from the Philadelphia area I’d be honored to lead the Philadelphia school district, as I’m sure many others who possess similar skill sets. What makes us different, we’re not educators, we’re leaders who work with many to achieve a desired end state. More imprtantly, at a salary far less than paid to “professionals” such as this individual. If I were the Mayor, I’d take a chance and seek out proven leaders, both enlisted and officers, who can bring different thinking to a “group think” body.

    • Retired E-8

      I second the morion! I retired after 37 years as an E-8, made large scale logistical changes in the way things were run in the supply/deployment arena in both Krygyzstan, Honduras and Guam, and would love the opportunity to take my skill set to an endevor such as this. For example, when a group of 130 soldiers coming into Krygyzstan to process through the mobility center before headingd to the Afghan region took over 3 hours to process, after 2 months of being there, I was able to improve the process so that we could get 100 people processed with their gear in an hour. I had an excellent Col I worked for, he allowed me to use my skills to make the improvements and the results allowed the troops to spend less time processing after a 19 hour flight. With quality leadership, motivated people and a clear goal, results are attainable! Quit throwing money out the window, instrad hire those that can bring results without paying them the massive pay scale that just takes away from the kids.

    • Liz

      Sounds good to me!

  • Deb Thompson

    The school district is BROKE! I would like to have an aduit done of the books!! And I would like to have someone from Philadelphia who knows the Philadelphia System,

  • Pat Westfield

    how can someone who is supposed to be so interested in education take 905,00 when the schools 9educators ) are in such dire straits – Sounds like greed took over instead of c aring. trish – phila.

  • J Lynch

    My goodness that an extremely large amount to give to someone when the school district is broke! What about all the program cuts?? All of a sudden the School District can find this kind of money to buy someone off! and in the same time not provide the proper education for its children. Shame, shame!!

  • Anders Norsman

    Why should the state build schools the kids don’t go and won’t learn if they do. In stead of paying property tax the parents should pay a tax for each kid in school.

  • Anders Norsman

    The shame is she didn’t do a good job and got almost a million dollars to leave.In private industry you are asked to leave when you are incompetent.With out any large cash award.

    • Disgusted American

      What country do you live in? In USA the Banking and Wall St execs run their companies into bankruptcy after taking as much for themselves as they can grab and then ask Govt and Taxpayers for a bailout. Stupid and corrupt corp boards keep saying we need to pay for the ‘best and brightest’ you know and both Dem and Rep parties are fine as long as the campaign $ keeps flowing.

  • PC

    This is disgraceful….You know, I am not necessarily defending Ackerman, but $905K, how was that money available and yet we have so many people out of work? What about our kids and the resources they desperately need!

  • Ms Robinson

    No one, especially the MEDIA (that includes so called reporters) report on the fact that the State would rather build prisons than fund education. You all barely touched that fact. You reporters are a JOKE!

  • Ms Robinson

    This is a damn shame. I am convinced that the powers that be really don’t want our children to learn which is why they find it much easier to build prisons instead of funding education. City & State officials don’t like anyone they can not control.

    • Angry Revolutionary


blog comments powered by Disqus
Taz Goes Big!
Download Now!

Listen Live