Former Philadelphia School District Superintendent Arlene Ackerman lashes out, saying that she tried to get rid of the person who she believed was responsible for the major budget crisis – and it cost her her job.
Watch the full exclusive interview above with Ackerman at her new home of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In response to Ackerman’s allegations, the district’s Chief Financial Officer Michael Masch wrote this to NBC Philadelphia:
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“In the separation agreement entered into earlier this year, the School District of Philadelphia and Arlene Ackerman mutually agreed to make no public comments that may be seen as disparaging. Members of the senior management of the District are legally bound by that agreement.
Based on what has been conveyed to me, Ms. Ackerman has made statements regarding my service to her and the School District that are not accurate and do not correctly represent what actually occurred during her superintendence.
As early as May 2010, I reported to the School Reform Commission and the public that the School District would be facing a serious budget gap in 2011-12, and laid out the reasons for it. Since then, we have been working tirelessly to develop and implement a gap closing plan to balance the School District’s 2011-12 budget, as required by law, while doing the least harm possible to critical school programs.
The School District ended its last fiscal year with a $33 million surplus, and the budget has been balanced in each of the past three years. We are working hard to keep the budget balanced in 2011-12 without undoing the academic progress made in the past eight years, despite a $408 million 19% reduction in our funding this year.
I have nothing further to say regarding Ms. Ackerman.”
Philadelphia School District Spokesperson Fernando Gallard sent NBC Philadelphia this response to Ackerman’s allegations:
“The School Reform Commission (SRC) chaired by Robert Archie and Arlene Ackerman mutually agreed to make no disparaging public comments or remarks in the separation agreement they entered into earlier this year. Members of the new School Reform Commission and the senior management of the School District are legally bound by this agreement. The new SRC’s decision not to respond to statements regarding the past does not indicate that the new SRC believes those statements to be accurate or factual.”