The Real Crime in Philadelphia’s School District

Last year, we blogged on the hefty $65,000 bonus Philadelphia’s Superintendent Arlene Ackerman collected.

Her annual base salary, $348,140, was higher than what superintendents collect in New York City, Chicago, and Boston. Plus she divided underlings’ responsibilities and brought more pricy employees into her district.

Even in resigning Ackerman is costing taxpayers big bucks with a $500,000 payoff (the rough equivalent of her severance pay) and additional $405,000 from unnamed donors.

Ackerman may have been overpaid and wasted education dollars on administrative costs—but this is a symptom of a greater problem: no accountability to children. 

The only way to save Philadelphia kids from violent and failing schools is to change the incentives by giving parents a choice. The ability to choose a different school would also free up school district dollars to improve public education.

In the end, school districts should answer to kids and their parents, not the mayor or the Auditor General, who is now jumping at the chance to reveal the mysterious donors. The real crime here is forcing Philadelphia’s children to return to dangerous and failing schools.