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SRC Chair Neff, Commissioner Houstoun Announce Their Resignations

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Changes are coming to the panel running Philadelphia schools — sooner than expected.

Two of the five members of the School Reform Commission are out. Commission chair Marge Neff is resigning effective November 3. Commissioner Feather Houstoun is leaving next Friday.

Both of their terms were expiring in January. Mayor Kenney says he plans to appoint a replacement for Neff “in the coming weeks.” It’ll be up to Governor Tom Wolf to appoint someone for Houstoun’s seat.

Sylvia Simms, a city appointee, will also see her term expire in January.

Neff has served on the SRC since 2014. Governor Wolf named her as chair in 2015, after demoting Commissioner Bill Green. Green is suing to try to get his chairmanship back.

In an interview, Neff says a staggered SRC transition is better than having two or three new faces arriving in January.

“I think it’s important that there be some time between — some time for people to be oriented, and that it not happen all at once,” she said. “One thing that I think that I found most difficult about serving on the SRC is that the problems are large, intransigent problems. And that moving the needle is not an easy thing.”

Neff says she believes she helped to make the SRC more transparent by pushing for resolutions to be publicly posted before commission meetings.

Neff says she plans to devote more time to tutoring and to her family after she leaves the SRC.

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