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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission convened for the last time on Thursday. The commission voted to abolish itself, paving the way for the public schools to return to local control.
Inside the auditorium on the second floor of the Philadelphia School District headquarters may appear to be just another School Reform Commission meeting, but what is happening is anything but normal.
This is the last official SRC meeting. The very first one took place on Dec. 28, 2001 after the city reached a deal with the state. Though the SRC officially governs over the city’s public schools until June 30, this is the last public meeting before the new Board of Education takes place.
Now, the City of Philadelphia will take back local control of its school system.
“We’re happy to be in the position for school governance to be a local body and we’re happy that we’ve created the conditions for that to happen,” said Philadelphia School District Superintendent William Hite. “We had to do a lot of hard things to get to this place and we’re at this place and now the governance of the School District of Philadelphia is back in local control.”
On the final agenda, the commission voted on whether or not to extend the charters for 11 schools. Ten were renewed, but the only one recommended for non-renewal was the Architecture and Design Charter School.
About three dozen former students and instructors held a rally outside before attending the meeting.
“CHAD is an amazing school. It’s a gem in the city of Philadelphia,” said one person.
The fight to keep it open will have to continue under the newly formed Board of Education.