SRC wraps up 17 years of Philly school control

The baton passes to a nine-member board July 1.

Mike DeNardo
June 22, 2018 - 9:53 am
The SRC holds its final meeting on June 21, 2018.

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — After 17 years of controlling Philly schools, the state School Reform Commission held its final public meeting Thursday night, as it prepares to hand the school system to a local board next month.

The meeting included criticism from activists, including Diane Payne, who said politicians, charter schools and private companies were the winners during the SRC's reign.

And the losers? "The thousands of children who have been the guinea pigs of this takeover," she said. 

As it ruled on charter renewals and other business during six hours of meetings, activist Ilene Poses marked the occasion with a song. To the tune of "You're a Grand Old Flag," she sang:

It's a grand old day
SRC's gone away
After years of controlling our schools...

The end of state control was welcomed by frequent SRC critic, City Councilwoman Helen Gym.

"Many of us have been waiting a long, long time for this transition and this day," Gym said.

Protesters are happy to see the last of the SRC.
Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

But even with more school funding in the city's new budget, SRC chair Estelle Richman noted the new board will face the same issues: "While the players change, the challenges do not."

There were farewells from each SRC member, including former chair Marge Neff.

"While I can't say it's the most fun I've had, I can say that I'm honored to have served."

Members of Philadelphia's new local school board sat in the back row for much of the meeting. They'll face the public soon. The nine-member board officially takes over July 1.

The city, as soon as Friday, will annoounce when local board will hold its first meeting.