Philadelphia School District pays all $905,000 of Ackerman buyout

September 7, 2011 8:31:46 PM PDT
Feeling the heat from critics demanding to know who they were, the School District today announced that almost all anonymous donors who had contributed to help buy Superintendent Dr. Arlene Ackerman's contract had withdrawn their pledges totaling $405,000.

The result is that the School District today had to pay the entire $905,000 owed Ackerman using its own money.

Nobody from the district, the city or state was speaking on camera, but some parents were hopping mad about the latest in this fiasco.

"I think that's a ridiculous amount of money," Athena Shell of Overbrook Park said.

"Very upset because the School District, the children are the ones that are suffering and she's got all the money," Diana Turpin of Overbrook Park said.

To be sure, there were those blaming the School District and not Ackerman.

"She was doing the job she was supposed to be doing; they should have just kept her," Harrison Knox of Overbrook said.

"I just feel like she's been railroaded because all of a sudden you're coming up with, 'Well, let's buy her out,'" Rosalind Hill of Overbrook said.

The Committee of Seventy which had been a vocal critic of anonymous donors contributing to a fund to help buy out Ackerman's contract said in a statement today in part, "Philadelphia has been tarnished by a controversy that stems from a secret deal that should have never been attempted in the first place."

For his part, Mayor Michael Nutter says he didn't raise any money. In a statement, his office says in part, "SRC members secured supplemental funding from private donors and the mayor endorsed that arrangement. Unfortunately, a controversy arose."

But Ackerman supporter Leon Williams says they're all to blame for this mess.

"Clearly, the politicians have failed and this is just one example," Williams said. "It really makes you wonder what kind of thinking is going on in this board or what kind of leadership this is."

Dr. Ackerman herself was said to be in New Mexico and unavailable for comment. But her supporters say she has told them that once she got her money, she would have plenty more to say about the goings on at the School Reform Commission and the city.


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