Philly's newly appointed school board holds first meeting

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The School District of Philadelphia's newly appointed Board of Education held its first public meeting Monday night.

In April, the board members were appointed after the School Reform Commission disbanded, giving the board local control over all of the schools.

All nine of the new board members were appointed by the mayor. The SRC had five members with several appointed by the governor.

A packed crowd greeted the new board for its first meeting, with Superintendent William Hite, Mayor Jim Kenney and city leaders in the front row showing their support.

"Symbolically this is a big deal," said Hite.

Previously the SRC was in place since 2001 when the school board said the district was financially distressed. The SRC had five appointees from the governor. The current board only answers to the Mayor.

"I'm pleased the mayor took that responsibility on," said Hite. "With the other mechanism, individuals could point to each other and say it's not our problem, it's their problem."

Six men and three women comprise the board. At least two people previously served on the SRC. The position is unpaid and their term lasts as long as the mayors.

EMBED More News Videos

First meeting of Philly's new school board: Annie McCormick reports on Action News at 4 p.m., July 9, 2018

Not everyone in the crowd was sold on the new leadership just yet.

"Six in one hand and a half dozen in the other," said Tanya Parker of Strawberry Mansion. "Because on the board has SRC members that were on the previous board, so that's a problem right there."

This board will have major work to do, running the 3.2 billion dollar organization that has struggled to continue to find revenue and maintain facilities, many in disrepair.

The district oversees 200,000 students.

For the bulk of the meeting, the community voiced their concerns but said above all they want resources and transparency.

"I don't think the governing makes a difference, I think the difference will come in making sure all adults are held accountable, that all students get a high-quality education regardless of where you live," said Committeeperson Quibila Divine, representing the 11th ward.

Superintendent Hite said people should remember that with any new position comes a learning curve.

"Trying to manage expectations is important," he said, "But people have to be patient."

EMBED More News Videos

Philadelphia Board of Education holds first meeting: Annie McCormick reports on Action News at 6 p.m., July 9, 2018

Send a News Tip to Action News
Learn More About 6abc Apps
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.