Arlene Ackerman Applies for Unemployment

Ackerman could receive up to $573 a week

By Elyse Madison and Dan Stamm
|  Tuesday, Nov 29, 2011  |  Updated 10:35 PM EDT
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Ackerman Gets $905K to Leave School District

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Ackerman Gets $905K to Leave School District

Philadelphia school superintendent Arlene Ackerman is stepping down, effective immediately. She's being bought out of her contract to the tune of $905,000.
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If taxpayers weren’t already fed up with former Philadelphia schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman and the $905,000 buyout she received, here’s something else that will get them fired up.

Ackerman has now applied for unemployment benefits, The Philadelphia Daily News reported.

A district spokesman confirmed Tuesday that Arlene Ackerman had applied for jobless benefits. She's eligible for the state maximum of $573 a week, based on her former salary of about $350,000.

Ackerman abruptly left the district last summer.

NBC Philadelphia's Lu Ann Cahn spoke to the former superintendent by phone Tuesday night. Ackerman says that if she had her druthers she would still be in Philadelphia but that she was forced out.

"I am not taking something I haven't earned," she said.

Her leadership saw increased test scores and graduation rates but also clashes with community members, the teachers' union and elected officials.

In August, Ackerman was paid $905,000 in buyout money to leave the school district. Her buyout was initially going to be paid using public funds and anonymous private contributions. The donors later backed out after critics blasted the deal's lack of transparency.

Because of a separation agreement, the school district has agreed not to fight the claim, the Daily News reported.

Ackerman released a statement Tuesday through an associate.

"I loved my job with the School District of Philadelphia," Dr. Ackerman said. "I did not quit my job. I am not working right now, and therefore I am entitled to unemployment."


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