What happened when City Council and the new Philly school board met for first time
Philadelphia’s City Council held a first-of-its-kind hearing Tuesday with school district officials and members of the city’s new school board, the latest sign that city lawmakers will be keeping closer tabs on the schools.
The content of the hearing — topics such as funding, staffing, and building conditions — won’t surprise close observers of Pennsylvania’s largest school district.
But it was a milestone meeting nonetheless, simply because it took place.
“This is to, a large degree, a momentous day,” said Council President Darrell Clarke. “I know a lot of people have been waiting for this day in a very public way.”
After 17 years under the watch of a state-controlled board, Philadelphia’s public school district will now answer to a school board made up of mayoral appointees. City Council will also have say in those selections, likely ensuring a closer relationship between the district and Philadelphia legislators.
That closer relationship will include at least two meetings a year where board members and district officials appear before City Council and the public.
Mayor Jim Kenney called the inaugural hearing “historic.”
“Now, our city’s future is in our hands — right where we want it to be,” said Kenney. “Together, we can ensure that there are quality schools in every Philadelphia neighborhood.”
Under Kenney’s direction — and with the prodding of activists — Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission voted to dissolve itself last fall. Kenney then appointed nine school board members to replace the state-controlled SRC.