School Reform Commission Chair Pedro Ramos resigned from his post in October, citing family issues.
Ramos, whose term would have expired in January, served for two years on the SRC at a time of unprecedented financial crisis in the District. He worked with school, city, and state officials to bring the District’s budget back into balance and presided over deep cuts in spending, which include the closure of 30 public schools.
His departure comes in the middle of ongoing contract negotiations with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.
As of mid-November, his replacement has not yet been named. Gov. Corbett said he has gathered a list of names, some of whom have declined to be considered, so the search continues.
“The governor will announce his nominee when he has selected a candidate who he believes is appropriate for the position,” said Tim Eller, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Ramos was a gubernatorial appointee. The governor appoints three of the five commissioners, and the mayor appoints two. Whomever Corbett appoints to the seat would have to be approved by the state Senate.
Advocacy groups, including Action United and Youth United for Change, issued a joint letter to Corbett suggesting two prospects – James “Torch” Lytle, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education professor, and the Rev. Alyn Waller, pastor at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church. Eller did not confirm if either was on the list, but said “the governor is appreciative of Action United’s interest and involvement in the School District and the School Reform Commission, and he will take the organization’s suggestions under advisement.”
The Committee of Seventy issued its own letter to the governor suggesting that a nominating panel be established to help fill Ramos’s seat and that of gubernatorial appointee Joseph Dworetzky, whose term expires in January. Ellen Kaplan, vice president and policy director for the organization, said that they have not received a response to their letter.
“Gov. Corbett is running for re-election,” Kaplan said. “I don’t think he is thinking a whole lot about the School District of Philadelphia right now. But he has got to fill these seats and do it in a timely manner.”