PFT: Return schools to local control

Philadelphians want the School Reform Commission abolished and the city's public schools returned to local control, the teachers' union said Tuesday.

Nearly 97 percent of over 3,000 city residents surveyed over three months favor a return to local control for the Philadelphia School District, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers officials announced. PFT members and members of PCAPS, the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools, conducted the survey.

Most of those polled said that if the SRC is abolished, they favor either an elected school board or a combination of an elected and appointed school board.

Among their top concerns for public schools are a lack of student services (60 percent of residents), safety issues (48 percent), access to basic supplies (35 percent), too much focus on test scores (26 percent), lack of course offerings (14 percent), lack of extras (12 percent) and building conditions (9 percent).

Asked what they felt potential solutions to the district's problems were, most respondents (77 percent) said that additional funding is required. Fifty-seven percent said they want neighborhood schools improved. Twenty-four percent said they want the number of charter schools decreased, 4 percent said they want the number of charters increased, and 2 percent said more schools should be closed.

PFT President Jerry Jordan and lawmakers including state Sen. Vincent Hughes are scheduled to discuss the findings at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

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