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SRC Signs Ackerman's $905,000 Severance Check, Taxpayers Front The Bill

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The School Reform Commission has decided to sign former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman's severance check. And the public is footing the entire bill.

The School Reform Commission in a statement said public concerns over $405,000 in anonymous private donations to Arlene Ackerman's buyout led nearly all of the donors to withdraw their pledges. So the Commission asked the nonprofit Philadelphia Children's First Fund to return any remaining donations, and all of Ackerman's buyout now is public money from school district coffers. Ackerman's attorney, Dean Weitzman, says the SRC has paid Ackerman in full.

"Dr. Ackerman's pay under the severance package was transmitted to my office today in the form of hard checks and those checks were deposited into Dr. Ackerman's account."

There was speculation the SRC might withhold Ackerman's buyout, claiming her public criticism of budget chief Michael Masch violated a non-disparagement clause in her separation agreement.  The SRC last week said it disagreed with Ackerman's criticism of Masch.

Today was the deadline for the SRC to either pay Ackerman or decide to challenge her No comment yet from the School Reform Commission. In the statement, the SRC said it believed it is a better use of the School District's resources to focus on ensuring a successful school year.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio

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