This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
According to a new poll, Notebook readers expect increased transparency from a retooled School Reform Commission that features new faces and promises of reform.
Posted on the Notebook’s website, the poll asked readers whether the SRC should be required to log their interactions with public officials.
Sixty seven percent of respondents said that all SRC contact with public officials should be logged and made public. Another 20 percent said that the SRC should abstain from all contact with politicians.
Questions about political interference within the SRC come on the heels of last March’s closed-door meeting regarding a proposed charter contract at Martin Luther King High School. The meeting took place between former SRC Chairman Robert Archie, state Representative Dwight Evans, and then-Deputy Superintendent Leroy Nunery.
First reported by the Notebook, the public outing of Archie’s and Evans’ secret sit-down prompted an investigation by the city’s Chief Integrity Officer Joan Markman, in which Markman excoriated Archie and Evans for their meddling.
In a recent Notebook interview, then-Interim Chairman Wendell Pritchett, solicited community response on how to make the body more transparent and responsive.
“Should we have a log that says any time that any commissioner is contacted by a legislator? Should it be public? I would appreciate advice and thoughts from your readers,” Pritchett said.
The poll prompted 127 responses, the majority of which leaned toward increasing the buffer between SRC members and politicians.
Just 9 percent of readers said the SRC should log interactions with public officials, but has the right to keep details of those meetings private. A mere 4 percent said the SRC is fine as is.
The Notebook is awaiting comment on the poll results from the commission; check back for an update to this story.