Ackerman returns as questions of buyout loom

PHILADELPHIA - August 17, 2011

Dr. Ackerman was greeted by a small group of supporters as she headed back to work at the Philadelphia School District building on North Broad Street.

She blamed at least part of her absence on a bout of asthma.

But her supporters say Ackerman has been told to stay away from work by the School Reform Commission (SRC). They say she's also been stripped of much of her decision-making authority.

"Clearly they marginalized her, when they don't allow the person who's named superintendent to come to work, when they don't allow her to make the decisions," State Senator Anthony Williams said.

Ackerman's contract runs through June 2014 after a recent one year extension.

Ackerman came to the district three years ago.

She's been praise for raising test scores and turning around some troubled schools. But she's also ruffled feathers recently with unilateral spending decisions and other issues.

The district is currently facing a $650 million dollar deficit. The district is also under investigation for possible cheating on state tests.

Her supporters are demanding a meeting with Mayor Nutter and the SRC.

The mayor and the governor appoint the members of the commission.

Her supporters say the SRC is trying to force her to take a buyout.

Williams points the finger at commission chairman Robert Archie.

Archie has issued a statement saying the SRC is committed to continue working with Ackerman.

Action News asked Dr. Ackerman, "Have you been approached about a buyout?"

"That's not something I'm not even going to talk about right now. I'm not going to talk about that," she replied.

Action News tried for clarification by asking, "You say that hasn't happened?"

Though, Dr. Ackerman did not reply to that question, she does say she has no current contract negotiations going on right now.

Meanwhile, the SRC has not responded to calls for a comment.

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