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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

School board commission dissolved

Looking into uncertainty

The School District of Philadelphia announced on Nov. 16 that it would be dissolving the School Reform Commission (SRC). The SRC, created as a part of a compromise to solve a budget deficit in Philadelphia, did its job in part, but at great cost to the city on the local level. Teachers were laid off, classroom sizes were maxed out and students lost arts programs.

While the state influence allowed for additional funding, it also meant relinquishing local say over privatization and charter school expansion.

The  board was established in 2001 to create a temporary governance body for the Philadelphia education system, but now with nearly half of the School District of Philadelphia’s $3 billion budget intertwined with state budget allocations, funding has become integral for continued stability.

As a student who spent kindergarten through the 12th grade within the public school systems, it is important to ensure for the future of students that schools will be allocated sufficient funding that is then implemented under the the new governance body. While I am  certain that the old governing board was not serving Philadelphia students justly, I am even more skeptical of what the unknown will bring forth.

The biggest question for me is one that seems general but should be most concerning: what now? Where does the SRC’s dissolve leave Philadelphia K-12 Public Education? What are the funding implications? Who will the next governance body be comprised of and what are their interests?

The only way to make certain that just education funding happens is to thoroughly vet those who seek to serve as members of the future school board. They should be expected to continuously listen to the voices of the community addressing the needs of the current and future Philadelphia students.

With the SRC now dissolved, Philadelphia K-12 Education has gone from state influenced control to local control. Mayor James Kenney said he thinks local control can bring the accountability and results deserved by Philadelphians.

“Unless we want to return to the days of classrooms without teachers and schools without nurses, Philadelphia must step up, agi,” Kenney said.

Community activists in Philadelphia need to be sure that they take part in the reorganization of the school board especially seeing the fragility of the financial state. Perspective leaders should have demonstrated years of unfeigned commitment to district students and employees.

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