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Ackerman's Criticism Of School Officials May Cost Her

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Now that she's officially unemployed, former Philadelphia schools superintendent Arlene Ackerman is on the offensive. In interviews, she's blaming her departure on politicians and some school district officials.

The comments may be jeopardizing her generous buy-out.

There is a provision in Ackerman's separation agreement that she will not make any public comments about district administrators that would injure their reputations. But in a Thursday morning interview on WURD-AM, she asserted that she was fired because she tried to give more contracts to non-white businesses and she charged finance director Michael Masch with maneuvering money to favored contractors.

"This is a way of life in Philadelphia and I wasn't supposed to open up this can of worms. This was Michael Masch's job to keep control over the money."

The school district issued a statement declining to respond because, it said, it wants to keep the focus on opening schools.

A spokesman also declined comment on whether Ackerman's statements might be enough of a breach for the school reform commission to demand she return her 905-thousand dollar severance.

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio

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