Nutter, SRC, state officials sign education partnership agreement

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Philadelphia Public Schools superintendent Arlene Ackerman arrives at the office of Council President Anna Verna on Thursday. (Alejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer)

UPDATED: Just as we suspected, the "education" announcement by Nutter, Ackerman and company, was to show the public that the city, state and school district have officially established a formal partnership.

In the spirit of "solidarity," Mayor Nutter, School Reform Commission Chair Bob Archie and Education Secretary Ron Tomalis, signed an agreement at City Hall today, cementing what's to become a free flow of information and coordination between the school district, city and the state.

"This represents a new beginning, a new way of working together," Ackerman said.

Archie said that he, and his fellow board members, agreed to make the partnership a reality.

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"Most on the SRC thinks it's best practices," he said.

Meanwhile, Tomalis noted the move was "unique" and "unprecedented."

In keeping with the mayor's request for more information, district officials met the deadline Nutter set to receive a chart outlining how officials planned to move forward should the city provide additional funding.

The district also provided Nutter a list of programs funded Title I dollars, federal funding earmarked for low-income families.

"For that, I thank them," Nutter said.

Since a blunder last week that left relations between Ackerman and the mayor temporarily chilled, both she and Nutter have went through great pains to show an united front.

And for good reason. The district still has a huge deficit to worry about, and Nutter is trying to get a longshot soda tax and real estate tax hike approved in City Council. He's trying to help cushion the district's $629 million hole in next year's budget.

Ackerman annoyed the mayor last week when she gave him only an hour's notice before announcing that she'd figured out a way to save full-day kindergarten by shifting over Title I dollars. On Sunday, Nutter responded with a nine-page letter demanding that the district be more transparent and accountable.

He'd requested more frequent meetings and information regarding contracts, salaries, pensions, benefits and other matters, which the SRC yesterday voted to honor. 

At the news conference, Ackerman wanted to put to rest any lingering questions about tension between her and the mayor.

"Although there was a misstep," she said, "it hasn't damaged a relationship that we've had."

 



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