Philadelphia (CBS) – After a summer that saw accusations of back-room deals, the new-look panel running Philadelphia schools is making an effort to engage the public.

The School Reform Commission (SRC) typically gives pre-registered members of the public an opportunity to speak at the end of its meetings. But at Wednesday’s meeting, new SRC chair Pedro Ramos allowed the public to join in questioning, during staff presentations.

The move surprised retired teacher Lisa Haver.

“Thank you for taking questions from the audience, because I’ve been coming to these things for a long time. And this has never happened before.”

The SRC has also sent a signed letter to parents, inviting them to the series of meetings on schools facilities and closings. And, Ramos says the SRC is also planning to move its monthly 2 p.m. voting meetings to later in the day, so that parents will be able to come after work.

Reported By Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio

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