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Richman moves a step closer to SRC, says she’s in no hurry to dissolve it

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

At her Tuesday confirmation hearing, Estelle Richman, Gov. Wolf’s pick for the School Reform Commission, reiterated her support for school choice — and indicated that she does not want to dissolve the SRC.

After the hearing, the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee unanimously approved Richman’s nomination. Her nomination now heads to the full State Senate for a final vote that could come as soon as Wednesday.

Tuesday’s vote was something of a formality. Lawmakers struck a congenial tone with Richman, a longtime civil servant with years of experience in Harrisburg. The former head of what was then the state’s Department of Public Welfare reciprocated the pleasantries during a largely drama-free hearing.

But Richman did reaffirm and reveal positions on key issues that will likely interest Philadelphia observers.

In opening remarks, Richman reiterated her support for school choice and said that she had no philosophical qualm with charter schools.

"I’m most interested in schools being of quality and school choice," Richman said. "I believe parents should have viable choices on where they send their children to school."

Later, in an exchange with Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, she was more forceful.

"I strongly believe in choice," Richman said.

Support for charter schools is a prerequisite for an SRC position for many Harrisburg Republicans and some Democrats. The GOP holds a veto-proof majority in the state Senate, and any Wolf nominee for the SRC would likely have to express support for charters.

Richman did, however, say that she has no built-in preference for charters and wants to support high-quality traditional public schools with equal vigor.

She also appeared to dismiss the idea of dissolving the SRC.

"I’m just going on, and I’m not going for the purpose of putting myself out of business," Richman said.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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