By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney wants more choices as he picks a new school board.

The board will replace the state-controlled School Reform Commission and, under a bill that passed council on Thursday, voters will be asked to give City Council more of say in the selection.

The Education Nominating Panel gave the mayor 27 names from which to choose the nine school board members; a list heavy on lawyers and academics.

The mayor has sent a letter to the panel asking for 18 more names, this time with more parents and school teachers among them.

The mayor sent the request shortly after City Council approved a charter change referendum giving it confirmation authority over the mayor’s picks.

The bill was a compromise, leaving out a controversial proposal that the mayor could only fire board members for “just cause,” instead requiring that he simply give a reason if he removes someone.

“I don’t anticipate doing it. Hopefully, we’ll make the right choices up front and won’t have to go through that,” said Kenney.

The referendum will be on the May primary ballot.


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