By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and public school advocates are calling for the dissolution of the School Reform Commission in favor of what they call a “locally accountable school board.”
KYW’s Steve Tawa reports City Council will take up a non-binding resolution in support of returning schools to local control.
PFT president Jerry Jordan points to a survey of 3,000 Philadelphians, 97 percent of whom prefer a locally controlled school board to the SRC. Jordan says “state control has failed miserably.”
“Under their watch, our district’s deficit has grown to an unprecedented level,” Jordan said.
The SRC, which has been in place for 13 years, is made up of five members, three appointed by the Governor and two by the Mayor. It has ultimate oversight over the Philadelphia School District. But State Senator Vincent Hughes says the survey, and a potential non-binding referendum on local control on the ballot in this November’s election, may move the needle.
“I would interpret this as the beginning of a very important conversation,” Hughes said.
Working Families Organization would have to gather 20,000 petition signatures, but Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell says it would send a strong message.
“You will be able to assess when the voters come out just how dire the issue is, and how the public feels about it,” Blackwell said.
Terrilyn McCormick, a parent of two school children at CAPA and Penn Alexander, says too often, the stakeholders – students, parents, teachers and staff – “are marginalized or completely excluded from decision-making by the state-run School Reform Commission.”