Kenney to give major speech on future of Philly schools

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney plans to address the future of Philadelphia's school system in a speech Thursday. (AP file photo)

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney plans to address the future of Philadelphia's school system in a speech Thursday. (AP file photo)

Mayor Jim Kenney will address the future of Philadelphia’s public schools — the latest sign that the system’s governance structure could be in for a major shakeup — during a major speech Thursday.

The news was confirmed by Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt.

She said the mayor will discuss the school district’s finances and its governance structure, but she would not comment further on its content.

Momentum has been growing to replace the School Reform Commission, a five-member body that has overseen the school district since a 2001 state takeover. The SRC is made up of three gubernatorial appointees and two mayoral appointees. SRC opponents want it replaced with a local school board.

The SRC appears increasingly likely to vote itself out of existence in the next few months. Such a move would give Kenney more authority over the Philadelphia schools than any mayor in recent history.

Constituents from across the city’s education landscape will be eager to hear the mayor’s vision on governance and fiscal policy.

The district projects a major deficit as early as fiscal year 2019, and the hole could grow to nearly a billion dollars by fiscal year 2022. As one of the school district’s primary funders, the city government may have a critical role to play in keeping its public schools solvent.

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