FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Beulah Osueke, bosueke@
Philadelphia, PA – POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild) has voted unanimously to join forces with the “Our City Our Schools” Coalition to move forward in attaining local control of the School District of Philadelphia. A State takeover of Philadelphia’s public schools took place in 2001, and with it, the local Board of Education was abolished and replaced by the School Reform Commission (SRC).
The SRC consists of five members, three appointed by the Governor and two by the Mayor. At the time of the takeover, the school district was in dire financial straits, and it was presumed that with the State takeover would come additional state support including funding, preparation for a return to local governance, and a number of other improvements. Fifteen years later, very little has changed for the better.
The Philadelphia School District still struggles financially, although to its credit, it has achieved remarkable savings, and currently has a balanced budget and even a small surplus. However, it is a smaller school district which continues to have declining enrollment, growing financial obligations to charter schools, and aging and sometimes dangerous infrastructure issues.
In the meantime, the hard work of designing what local governance should look like – elected school board or appointed, how many members, etc. – needs to be researched, thought through, and advocated for by the participating organizations.
POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower and Rebuild) is an interfaith organization committed to implementing systemic change for the betterment of Pennsylvania. We represent populace from across the Greater Philadelphia area, transcending borders across race, faith, income level, and neighborhood. Learn more at www.powerinterfaith.org