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Philadelphia School Reform Commission Votes To Disband

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The School Reform Commission has voted to dissolve itself on Thursday night.

Enthusiastic cheers went up when the School Reform Commission voted itself out of existence. The vote was 3-1 to dissolve, with Commissioner Farah Jimenez abstaining.

"As I have said before, there is no more critical issue to the success of our city than the success of our schools.  The District is making progress for students in classrooms across the city.  This year has been the strongest start of the school year since Dr. Hite became superintendent and we continue to strengthen the current and future financial outlook of the School District of Philadelphia," said School Reform Commission Chair Joyce Wilkerson.  "Returning the District to Philadelphia will allow us to build on this progress and stability. The District is ready for its next phase and Philadelphia is ready to take ownership of its schools."

Commissioner Bill Green was the lone "no" vote.  He wanted a three-year commitment from the city to cover the district's deficit.

"I truly hope that I am proven wrong. And that the promised funding appears, the transition is smooth, and the new local board has the resources to maintain our progress," Green said.

The vote comes amid a struggling public school system after 16 years of state oversight.

Mayor Jim Kenney was in favor of Thursday's vote to dissolve.

"Today, we are one step closer to bringing quality schools to every neighborhood in Philadelphia. No longer will elected officials be able to play the blame game for the state of schools - pointing to one of the members of the School Board they did not appoint," said Kenney in a statement. " No longer will our schools be run by a Board with several different patrons, which too often leads to disorganization or unproductive infighting. The buck will stop with one person, the Mayor, and I fully expect Philadelphians to hold me and future Mayors accountable."

The SRC has been in place since 2001.

A new locally appointed Board of Education is expected to be in place by July 1, 2018.


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