GOV. CORBETT on Friday will announce that he is appointing City Councilman Bill Green IV to lead the School Reform Commission, PhillyClout has learned.
The Republican governor’s appointment of Green, an ambitious Democratic politician with an outspoken and sometimes combative style, is an intriguing development for the beleaguered School District of Philadelphia, still reeling from the $304 million budget deficit revealed last year.
It’s unclear where Corbett will make the announcement, but he will be in Philadelphia Friday morning for an event at Central High School, where local school activists plan to protest cuts to education funding during his administration.
Neither Green nor Corbett’s office responded to requests for confirmation.
The Daily News in November was the first to report that Green, the son of the former mayor of the same name, was lobbying Republicans to support his bid to fill the SRC vacancy created when Chairman Pedro Ramos stepped down.
The SRC, which took control of the district in 2001 to bail it out of a funding crisis, includes three appointees from the governor and two from the mayor.
Now in his second term on Council, Green earned headlines early in his career for his commanding knowledge of the city budget and aggressive questioninreg of Mayor Nutter’s deputies during budget hearings. After Nutter proposed closing some libraries to save money during the recession, Green successfully sued to keep them open.
This past year, however, he was uncharacteristically quiet in Council and absent for most budget hearings.
He’s often mentioned as a potential candidate for the 2015 mayor’s race. With Philly voters telling pollsters that education has become a primary concern — a successful tenure atop the SRC would be an ideal platform to build a mayoral campaign around.
But Green will have to get results fast if he is to join the 2015 race, which should be in full swing by the end of the year.
In the past, Green has supported expanding charter schools, introducing vouchers, lengthening the school day and year and making it easier to fire underperforming teachers — policies that won’t sit well with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, which for months has been at odds with Superintendent William Hite on how to reach a new contract.
The People Paper reported in November that Green was lobbying Philly-area Republicans to vouch for him and had talks with state Rep. John Taylor, the only Philly Republican in the General Assembly; City Commissioner Al Schmidt; and state GOP Chairman Rob Gleason, who has known his father for 50 years.
Also under consideration for the job was former Pennsylvania Convention Center President Al Mezzeroba, a Republican.