State lawmaker wants Ackerman gone – with no buyout

A state lawmaker from Philadelphia is planning a trip to City Hall next week to deliver a message about the head of the city’s schools. The message: Fire her.  

State Rep. Mike McGeehan, a Democrat from Northeast Philadelphia ,says he wants to talk to Mayor Michael Nutter face-to-face about how the city can dismiss schools head Arlene Ackerman without buying out her contract for $1.5 million.

“Looking at all the bad decisions, looking at the bloated salaries and the abuse of district employees, the questionable procurement practices and the shaky financial decisions that have been the hallmark of this administration,” McGeehan  there’s plenty enough evidence there that we could present a case that we could fire this superintendent with cause.”

McGeehan says Ackerman’s predecessor, Paul Vallas, was shown the door for less cause.

“When we rode Vallas out on a rail here a few short years ago he had only a $75 million dollar deficit. This administration had a $600 million deficit. That’s more than eight times what Paul Vallas had.”

And Vallas, McGeehan said, got a much less generous package when he left:

“His severance package was $180 thousand and a good-bye and a kick in the rear, quite frankly. It would be unconscionable – for this city in the financial straits that it’s in, paying for the second year in a row a tax increase for a failing school system – to pay this woman any severance. We can’t afford to reward failure.”

Jerry Jordan, head of the city teachers union, has also called on Ackerman to step down. Robert Archie, head of the School Reform Commission, would say this week only that Ackerman remains under contract until 2014 and the SRC expects to continue to work with her.

Nutter is on vacation and could not be reached.

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