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Nutter defends Evans’ ‘passionate advocacy’ at King

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

State Rep. Dwight Evans’ controversial behind-the-scenes involvement in a charter deal at Martin Luther King High worth an estimated $60 million over five years was "passionate advocacy," according to Mayor Michael Nutter.

Appearing on WHYY’s Radio Times Monday morning, Nutter seemed to defend Evans’ role, which his chief integrity officer blasted in a scathing report released last month.

"I don’t know of anyone who’s been more passionate, more focused, and more committed to positive outcomes for children than state Rep. Dwight Evans," Nutter told host Marty Moss-Coane. "He fights for what he believes in. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a result of that."

Though he defended Evans’ actions, Nutter also said that, "I wish my friend had stayed within the lines" of the "structured process" in place to determine who should manage King as part of former superintendent Arlene Ackerman’s Renaissance Schools initiative.

Nutter also talked with Moss-Coane about Ackerman and the School Reform Commission.

Of Ackerman’s messy departure, Nutter said that "the policy of education became overwhelmed by the personalities involved."

Nutter also expressed interest in taking on more responsibility and authority over the District, but said he doesn’t see the SRC "going away" any time soon and that greater mayoral control is not a topic of conversation "at the moment."

The massive cuts in state aid to the District could be a stumbling block, he indicated.

"If I were to have that responsibility, I don’t want to take it on with a broke District," Nutter told Moss-Coane.

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