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SRC answers questions about itself, its decisions in town hall-style meeting

Photo: Bill Hangley | WHYY

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

Trying to get answers from a large bureaucracy can feel like banging your head against a wall.

Last night, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission tried to break down some of its own barriers to communication in a largely unprecedented meeting devoted entirely to questions from the public.

The two-hour meeting was moderated by WHYY’s Kevin McCorry, who injected his own follow-up questions on such topics as the contract with the teachers’ union.

The meeting drew about 30 people who aren’t journalists and don’t work for the School District. People watching via livestream from home could also submit questions, which then appeared in real time on a screen that dominated one wall of the auditorium.

Many questions lifted the veil on the inner workings of the SRC itself. One person asked how much time the commissioners spend doing the jobs, which are unpaid. Commissioner Farrah Jimenez responded that on a "lean week," they might do 10 hours of work, but the average is closer to 20 or 25 hours, with the chair doing even more.

Another question brought up the recent ballot question, in favor of dissolving the SRC and returning the Philadelphia schools to local control. The question passed by a large margin. Commissioner Bill Green said they are in favor of handing over the reins, but only when the District has been set up for success.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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