This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Pedro Ramos, who has served for two years as School Reform Commission chair, has resigned from his post and the commission, citing family matters.
Ramos’ term on the SRC expires in 2014. His replacement on the commission has not yet been named. Commissioner Wendell Pritchett has previously filled in as acting chair in his absence.
Ramos was a gubernatorial appointee. The governor appoints three of the five commissioners, and the mayor appoints two.
Ramos, 48, a former Philadelphia school board president, city solicitor, and managing director, was appointed to the panel by Gov. Corbett in 2011. He joined the SRC at a time of unprecedented financial crisis in the District and worked with school, city, and state officials to bring the District’s budget back into balance. Advocating a fiscally responsible stance, he presided over deep cuts in spending.
Under Ramos’ watch, the District also closed 30 schools. His departure comes in the middle of ongoing contract negotiations with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.
In a release sent out Monday morning, Gov. Corbett said, "I appreciate Pedro’s hard work and dedication to guide the Philadelphia School District during these difficult times. Pedro’s well-deserved reputation and record in Philadelphia’s educational community gave him the credibility and insight to bring about change and positive reforms on behalf of the students of Philadelphia."
“While we regret to see Pedro depart the Commission, every citizen of Philadelphia has benefitted from Pedro’s spirit of public service, civic commitment and the work he has done to put our children first. Now, our best wishes are with the Ramos family,” the governor said.
"He contributed greatly to the District and helped put the District back on a fiscal path of stability," said Pennsylvania Department of Education spokesperson Tim Eller. "We’re sorry to see him go, but it is because of a personal matter and we wish him well.”
Ramos also helped recruit Superintendent William Hite. Hite had often said Ramos was one of the reasons that he decided to come to Philadelphia.
“Pedro has been a stalwart supporter of the School District and our students, and he will be missed,” said Hite in a statement. “He brought critical institutional knowledge as a former student, the parent of two public school graduates, the former President of the School Board of Philadelphia, a civic leader, and a business leader. This unique combination of experiences and perspectives will be difficult to replace.”
Ramos, a graduate of Central High School, earned degrees at the University of Pennsylvania and Michigan Law School. He is a partner in the Business Services Department of the law firm Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP, where he also co-chairs the higher-education practice.