This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
One hefty check is in hand already, but former superintendent Arlene Ackerman’s big payout day is Wednesday.
That’s the day by which she is due the lump-sum $905,000 severance payment agreed to in her separation agreement. The deadline is 14 days after the agreement was ratified by the School Reform Commission.
District and city officials said last week that they were investigating whether Ackerman violated a non-disparagement clause in the agreement by making reputation-damaging comments about the District and some officials in three interviews in the days immediately after she left. But the departed superintendent’s media campaign subsided.
On Tuesday there was no indication that the School Reform Commission plans to withhold the money.
The Notebook could not ascertain whether the District has received any of the $405,000 reportedly promised by private donors to defray some of the buyout deal’s cost. Those donations were expected to be passed through Philadelphia’s Children First Fund. There is nothing in the actual severance agreement that breaks down where the $905,000 is coming from – the District is on the hook for all of it, whether or not the donations come through.
In addition to this severance payment, Ackerman has already received a generous final paycheck. The Notebook has confirmed that her last biweekly pay included more than $59,000 for 44 unused vacation days and another $14,000 for unused personal leave days. Ackerman’s employment contract allowed her to accrue 34 vacaction days annually, up to a maximum of 60 days.
Along with two weeks pay, Ackerman’s final check amounted to $86,700 – well beyond what most Philadelphia teachers make in an entire year.