By Pat Loeb and Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Mayor Nutter has proposed a timeline for abolishing the School Reform Commission by September 2018. It’s part of his recommendations to the next mayor for improving Philadelphia public schools. The mayor suggests a year-long conversation next year on governance, followed by a year of putting into place new accountability practices. That would allow nine months for the legal process of dissolving the SRC before a local, mayor-appointed school board takes over for the 2018-19 school year. “Returning local control means the voters know who to hold accountable for educational outcomes,” he said.
Mayor Nutter stresses this can only be done once the state adopts a full and fair funding formula. Education activist and City Council candidate Helen Gym says students can’t afford to wait. “The question is what are we working for now, not just what are we waiting for,” she said.
The Chair of the School Reform Commission says it’s fine to talk about abolishing the panel, as long as stable funding is also being discussed.
SRC Chair Marjorie Neff says no matter who is running Philadelphia schools, establishing recurring fair funding to the district is critical.
“I don’t want anyone to assume that if we change governance structure that the district will be in a stable financial position,” she says.
That’s because the Philadelphia School District can’t levy taxes on its own, relying on the city and state for most of its funding. But Neff says that doesn’t mean the SRC can’t also begin thinking about and planning for a transition to local control.