A Philadelphia City Council committee has approved without a recommendation a petition request for a change in governance of the Philadelphia Public Schools.
The nonbinding referendum would ask the state to abolish the School Reform Commission and return the district to local control.
Hillary Linardopoulos of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers union said a referendum is the way to send a message to state officials.
“The voices of Philadelphians are often unheard in Harrisburg,” she said. “And when you have this public outcry, it will make it harder for legislators there not to listen to our efforts.”
About 40,000 residents signed petitions seeking the referendum.
Councilwoman Marian Tasco asked why the teachers and others just don’t deliver their petitions to state officials instead of wasting time going through with the referendum process outlined in the City Charter.
“We’ve started to use the charter to just be a spokesperson for what we want, but we really don’t get what we want because it’s not binding,” she said.
The issue will not receive a full council vote until the fall at the earliest.