Editorial: The $905,000 question

Is the Ar­lene Ack­er­man scan­dal over? Not if cit­izens give a darn.

The em­battled su­per­in­tend­ent of pub­lic schools, who stepped down after earn­ing a big, fat F in com­pas­sion and pub­lic re­la­tions, has re­ceived the $905,000 buy­out awar­ded her by her lack­eys on the School Re­form Com­mis­sion, but the folks who al­lowed this at­ro­city should not get off so eas­ily. They must be held ac­count­able to the pub­lic. 

Tax­pay­ers, the city con­trol­ler, the city in­spect­or gen­er­al, the state aud­it­or gen­er­al, and even the state at­tor­ney gen­er­al should de­mand SRC mem­bers and school dis­trict of­fi­cials fully and ac­cur­ately an­swer these very dis­turb­ing ques­tions:

1. Why did the SRC ex­tend Dr. Ack­er­man’s ri­dicu­lously gen­er­ous con­tract to 2014 while the school dis­trict was (and re­mains) in dire fin­an­cial straits?

2. Why did the SRC take that ac­tion just be­fore it es­sen­tially fired her?

3. Why did the SRC go through with the pay­off des­pite Dr. Ack­er­man’s pub­lic blast­ing of dis­trict of­fi­cials — a vi­ol­a­tion of her con­tract?

4. Why did May­or Mi­chael “New Day, New Way” Nut­ter work be­hind the scenes to ask an­onym­ous people to donate to a “char­it­able fund” that was to cov­er $405,000 of the buy­out — be­fore the donors backed out of the shady deal?

5. How does Dr. Ack­er­man sleep at night?

The Pennsylvania Le­gis­lature should pass a bill that would dis­band the SRC and al­low Phil­adelphi­ans to elect their school board, as well as an un­re­lated meas­ure that would pro­hib­it teach­ers from strik­ing. Both bills de­serve swift pas­sage. The kids will thank us someday.

Send let­ters to: pronews@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at staff@bsmphilly.com.

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