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Mayor 'deeply concerned' about appointment of Green to chair SRC

By Paul Socolar on Jan 17, 2014 02:50 PM

In a bluntly worded statement released to the press Friday afternoon, Mayor Nutter offered a less-than-welcoming response to Gov. Corbett's nomination of City Councilman Bill Green to head the School Reform Commission, calling it "quite frankly perplexing given his votes against some education funding measures and his published views on public education."

The statement goes on to say that the mayor is "deeply concerned, based on his past public statements and participation in School District budget hearings, as to whether or not, as chair, Councilman Green will be a strong and forceful advocate for increased educational funding."

Nutter did have kind words for Corbett's other SRC nominee, Farah Jimenez, who is president and CEO of People's Emergency Center. He called her "a smart, hard-working and truly caring person."

Corbett announced his appointments Friday morning at a press conference held at the Chamber of Commerce, after canceling last-minute his scheduled appearance at Central High School, where protesters were awaiting his arrival.

Green will be interviewed Friday evening by Notebook news partner WHYY (91FM) during its NewsWorks Tonight program from 6 to 6:30 p.m.

Mayor Nutter's full statement:

Friday, January 17, 2014                           FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MAYOR NUTTER’S STATEMENT ON GOVERNOR CORBETT’S PROPOSED SCHOOL REFORM COMMISSION APPOINTMENTS

Philadelphia, January 17, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter released the following statement on Governor Corbett’s proposed SRC appointments - Farah Jimenez and City Councilman Bill Green:

“Governor Corbett, today, has nominated two new members to the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, including a proposed new Chair.  For the first time, Governor Corbett will have hand-picked the majority of the team that he wants to govern the School District of Philadelphia.

My hope is that Governor Corbett will use this majority to push policies that will benefit the students of Philadelphia. But while I applaud one nominee, I am very concerned what the choice of Chair might be signaling in terms of policy, funding and the future of our District-managed schools.

Farah Jimenez is a smart, hard working and truly caring person. I've known and admired her for many years, and her dedication and concern for children and our City will be a benefit for all of us, especially our children. My team and I look forward to working with her to ensure Philadelphia children receive the high quality education they deserve. 

While I appreciate the hand that City Councilman Bill Green extended to me earlier today in his comments, I find his nomination quite frankly perplexing given his votes against some education funding measures and his published views on public education.  As Mayor, I have a duty to raise these concerns over his appointment.

We all must hope that, should he be confirmed in this new responsibility, he will adopt the priorities that many of us have fought for:

  • A new statewide student weighted funding formula that equitably brings full and fair funding to our children regardless of whether they go to a District-managed or charter school;
  • A cigarette tax, with funding earmarked to the School District, yet to be passed in the General Assembly;
  • A Sales Tax extension to be amended by the General Assembly to provide for a 50/50 split in funding between the School district and the City Pension Fund; and
  • An aggressive and effective plan to turn around our lowest performing, District-managed neighborhood schools.

It is my hope that he will come to better understand the importance of District-managed schools and that he will stand up and truly support our school children and teachers.

I've shared my concerns directly with Councilman Green regarding his policy proposals in support of vouchers, "charterizing" the whole School District and further cutting a district budget that is now woefully inadequate.

I am also deeply concerned, based on his past public statements and participation in School District Budget hearings, as to whether or not, as Chair, Councilman Green will be a strong and forceful advocate for increased educational funding in his requests to Governor Corbett, the General Assembly and Philadelphia City Council.

I can only hope with the significance of this proposed appointment that Councilman Green will find a way to adjust his views and take actions that are in the best interests of students, parents and teachers.

Governor Corbett has the right to nominate anyone he wants, but I have the duty as Mayor of this great City to raise these concerns about a leadership change that will affect the most important people in Philadelphia – our children and their future.

An appointment to the SRC is the most important appointment that either the Governor or I can make in Philadelphia. Educating children is a sacred trust and should be treated as such out of respect to the children, parents and taxpayers of Philadelphia. 

My support, and the support of my Administration, for educating our children will not waiver or be affected by this leadership change because my team and I deeply care about educating our children and helping them develop their full potential.   I am committed to working with the entire SRC in support of Dr. Hite’s leadership at the School District.

We will carefully monitor the actions of the Governor’s new team at the SRC to ensure that the interests of children are always being put first. With Governor Corbett’s new majority, he will put his unique mark on policy and funding, and he will have full responsibility and accountability for the financial and managerial operations and educational outcomes of the School District of Philadelphia.

I look forward to Gov Corbett's leadership in that regard and await his guidance, partnership and plans for providing the resources and support our children need and deserve in order to receive a superior education in Philadelphia.”

 

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Comments (17)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 17, 2014 2:59 pm
For the first time I agree with Mayor Nutter. Green is an awful choice.
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on January 17, 2014 2:27 pm
Small words from an even smaller man
Submitted by Jackson Little (not verified) on January 17, 2014 3:04 pm
small words from a small man? At least he's not anonymous, Mr. Small Man.
Submitted by Jackson Little (not verified) on January 17, 2014 3:49 pm
At the very least, the Mayor owns his words, Mr. Anonymous!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 17, 2014 3:21 pm
Who listens to Nutter anyway? He is NEVER right.
Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on January 17, 2014 3:39 pm
Nutter nominated Sylvia Simms - 'nuff said.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 17, 2014 6:34 pm
This statement by the Mayor seems thoughtful and and well-reasoned. I wish he had spent half as much time reflecting on the qualifications of his own appointee to the SRC. His appointment of Simms was an insult to every parent, student and taxpayer. I thought he had given up on our kids. Glad to see he is still interested.
Submitted by anon (not verified) on January 17, 2014 8:03 pm
agreed. nutter lost all credibility when he wasted one of his two picks on simms. the school district of philadelphia is being steered by people intent on sinking it.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 17, 2014 7:30 pm
Who cares what he thinks?
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on January 17, 2014 8:04 pm
Is Nutter serious or playing good cop, bad cop again ??
Submitted by tom-104 on January 17, 2014 10:43 pm
Mayor Nutter is worried about the School District bond rating. Even the financial community will bail if they stay on the course they are on. For the same reason, Governor Corbett is suddenly going to increase education funding. The election is one factor, but this is bigger. They have been given their marching orders by the financial community. http://tinyurl.com/lamg7xx
Submitted by Lisa Haver on January 18, 2014 11:07 am
This is about politicians' toes being stepped on. It has nothing to do with what the students are being cheated out of by all of them.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on January 18, 2014 3:25 pm
Mayor Nutter, may I ask you a question? If educating children is a "sacred trust," why are we turning it into a business? Is public education a "public trust," or is it a private business? Which is more likely to work in the best interests of children, their parents, and our community?
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on January 20, 2014 1:09 pm
Rich---Nutter, as you well know, is full of it and always has been. Young Billy is simply another hand in the money grab and Nutter doesn't like it. Elections matter !
Submitted by Timmy (not verified) on January 20, 2014 1:50 pm
Like his father before him, Bill Green will try his best to destroy public schools. It's like George W trying to finish what his father started!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 20, 2014 3:08 pm
Here is some food for thought: http://www.ragingchickenpress.org/2014/01/19/src-nomination-highlights-h... I guess the truth was bound to come out. Joe K should read this one, too.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on January 21, 2014 9:54 pm
I was surprised at how forthright Nutter was. Politicians aren't usually so straight up with their dislike of a potential nominee, especially if the person comes from the same party. There must not be much love lost between he and Bill Green. Even though Nutter criticizes Green's record on public education, Nutter's record is less than stellar. He has not been forceful enough with the governor regarding funding for the District. Mayor Nutter easily could have worked with the SDP in order to sue the Commonwealth for a lack of funding. In large part, Nutter has stood idly by as the District's financial situation has worsened. Yes, the City is contributing more to the District and property tax collections are increasing, but most of the funding comes from the Commonwealth. Nutter could have gone into the national spotlight and put more media and public pressure on Corbett and the Republican legislature. He could have spearheaded a group of financially-strapped school districts. But he hasn't done any of those actions. Mayor Nutter can criticize Councilman Green all he wants, but Nutter also needs to take a look in the mirror.

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