State rep to call for Ackerman's removal

Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, seen addressing a recent rally by school district students concerned about budget cuts, could face pressure from the governor to step down. (Ron Tarver / Staff Photographer)

My colleague Martha Woodall has this breaking news:

A state representative from Northeast Philadelphia who has criticized Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman will call for her removal on Thursday.

“Every day she is there she is doing irreparable harm to the school district,” State Rep. Michael McGeehan, D-Phila., said Wednesday night.

McGeehan said he will call on Gov. Corbett to urge the Philadelphia School Reform Commission to fire Ackerman.

“I’m going to call on the governor to call on the SRC to terminate her contract immediately,” McGeehan said. “It serves no one person — save her — to stay one day longer.”

The district is facing a $629 million budget shortfall after July 1, and on Wednesday district officials announced that they will have take $25 million in reserves to balance the current $3.2 billion, as well.

“We have reached the tipping point,” McGeehan said, adding that Ackerman has no credibility in Harrisburg and her continued presence at the district’s helm harms “the district’s ability to deliver a consistent and believable message to Harrisburg about funding.”

Four months ago, McGeehan held a news conference in front of the district offices to raise questions about district’s procurement practices and Ackerman’s decision to suspend six senior executives while the district investigated leaks about the awarding of an $7.5 million no-bid emergency contract to install surveillance cameras.

“I hoped things would get better, but instead it’s much worse,” he said.

District officials declined to comment.

As a result of the state takeover of the district in December 2001, the governor appoints three of the five SRC members; the mayor appoints two.

Corbett has yet to select a replacement for David F. Girard-diCarlo, the lone Republican on the commission who resigned in February.