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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 7, 2016 12:07 PM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes
To: All Senate members
Subject: Philadelphia School Reform Commission
In the near future, I will be reintroducing SB429 from last session which authorizes the Governor to dissolve the Philadelphia School Reform Commission (“SRC”) upon determining that continuation of the Commission is not in the best interests of the children of the Philadelphia School District. Current law allows the Secretary of Education to dissolve the Commission only upon the recommendation of a majority of the Commission.

I believe that the limitless authority possessed by the SRC shields the Commission and its members from being held accountable to the parents of Philadelphia school children for their actions. This provision basically allows an appointed board that is not responsible to the citizens of the City of Philadelphia to continue in perpetuity even when the SRC may not be acting in the best interests of the city’s school children. Such an arrangement is unacceptable.

The SRC was created to turn around the financially struggling school district. The well-publicized financial issues the school district currently faces are all the evidence one needs to see that the Commission has utterly and abjectly failed in its mission. To continue to allow the SRC to essentially “grade” itself by vesting the power to dissolve solely with the members of the Commission risks placing the students of the district in even greater harm than they have endured over the tumultuous past four years.

Previous cosponsors include: Costa, Haywood, Leach and Tartaglione.

Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation. If you have any questions, please contact my Chief Counsel, Michael Deery, at 7-7112 or mdeery@pasenate.com at your convenience.

Introduced as SB199