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Ackerman continues media offensive

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

Departed superintendent Arlene Ackerman continued to speak out about the circumstances surrounding her exit, appearing Thursday morning on Philadelphia’s WURD with Bill Anderson.

In a lengthy interview that included call-ins from City Council members Jannie Blackwell and Wilson Goode, Jr., Ackerman reiterated her claim that she was directed, against her own judgment, to put full-day kindergarten on the budget chopping block. She also revealed that she had asked Chief Financial Officer Michael Masch to step down. (Full interview podcast.)

Later in the morning, Mayor Nutter responded to questions about Ackerman’s comments. Nutter said that the state legislature removed funding for full-day kindergarten and he did not advocate using it as a political tool."The former superintendent can say whatever she wants to say. It’s America. She’s wrong,” Nutter said.

District spokesperson Fernando Gallard issued a statement in response to Ackerman’s comments:

“The School Reform Commission and Dr. Arlene Ackerman have a different view of facts and events that transpired at the School District of Philadelphia over the past three years. Dr. Ackerman and the School Reform Commission reached a mutual and amicable decision to part ways. The School Reform Commission and the School District are currently focused on the critical work before us in ensuring a successful opening of schools on September 6 and another productive academic year. Our decision not to respond to statements regarding the past does not indicate that we believe those statements to be accurate or factual, however, particularly with respect to the School District’s senior staff.”

The separation agreement between Ackerman and the District says that both parties agree not to make disparaging comments about each other.

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