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Want to be part of 'local control' of Philly schools?

Philadelphia is calling on its citizens to help prove its schools can keep up their winning streak without being babysat by the Commonwealth.

Philadelphia schools superintendent William Hite. (Metro file photo)

UPDATE: After this story was originally published, the city extended the deadline until Feb. 7. As of that date some 500 people had applied to join the new Board of Education, they said.

If you have a hankering to work on questions of educational policy in Philadelphia, the deadline to apply to Philadelphia's soon-to-established Board of Education is fast approaching.

The city is accepting applications through Jan. 31 Feb. 7 to join the new Board to replace the long-despised state-controlled School Reform Commission (SRC), which in November voted to dissolve itself to be replaced by a locally-controlled, Philly Board of Education under the office of the Mayor.

After 17 years of state control, the SRC voted to eradicate itself in consideration of the School District's reaching several milestones in recent years: multiple years of balanced budgets, a new contract with the teachers' unions, and improvements in student test scores and the high school graduation rate, according to city officials.

Now, Philly is calling on its citizens to help prove its schools can keep up the winning streak without being babysat by the Commonwealth.

"Our goal is to recommend a diverse slate of skilled and committed nominees to the Mayor next month,” Wendell Pritchett, chair of the Nominating Panel, said in a statement. “We encourage all qualified candidates who are ready to serve our students and shape our city’s future to apply."

Serving on the new Board to supervise School District and charter schools will be no cakewalk. Board members get no pay and a hefty load of responsibility.

"The Board of Education will govern over all public schools, district-managed schools, and charter schools in Philadelphia," the city said. "As part of the Board of Education, each member will be expected to work collectively to oversee all major policy, budgetary, and financial decisions for the School District. This is an unpaid position, which demands many hours of dedicated service each month, both at in-person meetings and in preparation for meetings."

Some 27 board members will be recommended to the Mayor, by February 28, with final appointments announced in March and three months of orientation before the Board officially goes into effect.

The Board of Education is currently scheduled to assume governance over city schools on July 1.

Find the Board of Ed application and more information online at phila.gov/education.

Public meetings

Three more information sessions are scheduled for the public to learn about the Board of Education:

  • Tuesday, Jan. 23, 6:00 p.m. Philadelphia Home and School Association, 440 North Broad Street
  • Wednesday, Jan. 24, 5:30 p.m. Community College of Philadelphia, Center for Business & Industry,18th and Callowhill, C2-28
  • Tuesday, Jan. 30, 6:00 p.m. Southwest CDC, 6328 Paschall Avenue