PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Former Philadelphia schools superintendent Arlene Ackerman, who was given a nearly $1-million buyout earlier this year, has applied for unemployment.

School District spokesman Fernando Gallard today confirmed that Ackerman wants to collect state unemployment benefits.

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“The former superintendent did apply for unemployment,” Gallard told KYW Newsradio today.

This comes after taxpayers funded a $905,000 buyout when she was shown the door in August (see related story).

As part of her separation agreement, the School Reform Commission agreed not to contest any unemployment claims she might file.

The news isn’t going over well with Michael Lodise, the head of the school police officers’ union who fought for several months to get unemployment compensation — and eventually succeeded —  for 120 school police officers laid off in June.

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“These people were really hurting, really needed it,” Lodise recalls.  “And here’s a woman with almost a million dollars, and she wants unemployment besides.  I just don’t understand it.”

Based on her former salary, Ackerman would be eligible for the state maximum of $573 a week.

Ackerman had no comment, referring questions to her attorney, Dean Weitzman.  Weitzman told KYW Newsradio that Ackerman qualifies for unemployment benefits because she is unemployed and was asked to leave the school district but not fired for cause.   It will be up to the state unemployment compensation board to approve Ackerman’s claim.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio 1060

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