Councilman proposes setting stage for local takeover of Philly schools

Philadelphia Councilman David Oh (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia Councilman David Oh (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

It may be a case of putting the cart before the horse, but a Philadelphia councilman is proposing requirements for a city school board.

The proposal is taking shape even though there’s no sign the state will return the Philadelphia School District to local control.

Visualizing a board made up mostly of education experts, Councilman David Oh said he’s also like to include several members elected from the public as part of his charter change request.

“This charter change would include, for example, having third-party auditing, and having board members — two that are elected and four that have advanced degrees and 10 years in their profession,” he said.

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Even though the state controls the district via the School Reform Commission, approving the changes would send a sign Philadelphia is ready to take over control of the educational process, Oh said.

“I think the first step we have to do is show the state we have put in a new, more responsible, more accountable system that is based on best practices,” he said. “I think, at that point in time, we are prepared to receive the school district back with the support of the state in transitioning financially the school district from SRC to local control.”

The bill if approved in council could make the spring ballot.

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