By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This week brings to a close Bill Green’s six-year tenure on Philadelphia City Council.
Green, the 48-year old son of the former mayor, is resigning to take on a daunting task of chairman of the School Reform Commission.
“I’m very proud of the work I’ve done here, and I’ve frankly accomplished a lot of what I came here to do. And I think that the work I’m going to be doing is far more important to many Philadelphians than the work I could do in my last two years on Council,” Green explains.
The accomplishments Green cites include work on business tax reform and ethics reforms like the registration of lobbyists. Along the way, he ruffled some feathers, including those of longer-tenured colleagues on Council.
“What I’m known for is standing up for what I believe in, whether or not its popular, whether or not people are interested in fighting for it, as long as it takes to get it done,” Green says.
Green will be sworn in as SRC chairman before the next commission meeting on February 20th.
His agenda includes allowing traditional schools to make use of some charter school practices.
“There have to be longer school days, longer school years. There has to be a constant feedback loop for teachers, not just from test scores but from people observing and teacher training — all the things that happen in charter schools that do not happen in our traditional public schools.”
Standing in the way is the district’s massive deficit, which again this year is expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Green wants Council passage of an extension of the temporary city sales tax hike…but he also stresses the need for reforms.
“We have to change the work rules so that a traditional public school can do the same things a mastery does. And until we do that, money won’t help,” he says.
Still, the district will again come before City Council this year with hat in hand, and that means Bill Green will questioned — perhaps intensely — by his soon-to-be former colleagues.
“I think it will be great! I’m looking forward to it,” he says.
Council President Darrell Clarke is expected to call for a special election to fill the remainder of Green’s term as one of seven at-large council members.