This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
For the first time, as it revealed its recommendations for school closings and consolidations, the District has broadcast the School Reform Commission meeting live on cable television and streamed it online.
The regular planning meeting got underway just after 3 p.m. and at 5:15 p.m. the District’s acting superintendent, Leroy Nunery, presented its recommendations for school closings, consolidations, and other actions as part of the facilities master plan.
The School District auditorium has a new look for the meeting – beyond the signs announcing the live broadcast.
The speaker’s lectern that traditionally faced the commissioners at the front of the room was replaced by a table and chair for public speakers and for District staff who are responding to SRC questions. Alongside the head table where the commissioners and superintendent sit, there is a small table for the District’s two executive advisors, Lori Shorr and Ed Williams, representing the city and state. At the other side of the room near the front is a table for the superintendent’s key cabinet members.
As usual, the meeting opened with remarks from Nunery, but Shorr and Williams also were invited to make remarks at the outset.
Shorr drew attention to her involvement in launching a new working group to look for efficiencies in District operations and described conversations about potential conflicts of interest and ethical issues that may arise with greater corporate involvement.
Williams mentioned the challenges that come with a downsized central office: "When you cut 50 percent of central staff, you have to have a very different way to do business."