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11/6/2018
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Ballot Question Two

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Plain English Statement Re Ballot Question No. 2

As Required By Section 201.1 of the Pennsylvania Election Code

Submitted to the Voters By Bill No. 180098 (approved March 14, 2018); Resolution No. 180112 (adopted March 8, 2018)

Ballot Question:

Shall the Educational Supplement to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to restore local control by confirming the Board of Education’s independent responsibility to administer the School District of Philadelphia, providing for public participation in the Educational Nominating Panel process, revising eligibility requirements, requiring City Council confirmation of School Board appointments, requiring a stated reason for removing a School Board Member and establishing a Parent and Community Advisory Council?

Statement:

The School District of Philadelphia is currently governed by the School Reform Commission, a State-created and State-controlled entity. On July 1, 2018, the School Reform Commission will cease to exist, and governance of the District will return to the Board of Education, a City-created and City-controlled entity. The Home Rule Charter currently provides that the Mayor appoints the members of the Board of Education.

This proposed amendment would provide that the Mayor’s appointments to the Board will be effective only if approved by City Council after a public hearing. The amendment will apply to any appointments made after the amendment is approved by the voters.

The Charter currently provides that Board members serve at the pleasure of the Mayor. This means that the Mayor does not have to prove any wrongdoing in order to remove a member from the Board, though the Charter does require that the Mayor give the member written notice at least ten days advance prior to removal. The amendment would require that the written notice include the Mayor’s specific reasons why the member is no longer fit to serve on the Board.

The amendment would replace the current requirement that Board members must be registered voters of the City with a requirement that they be residents of the City.

The Charter currently requires that the Mayor choose his appointments from lists of names provided to him by the Educational Nominating Panel; and requires the Panel to invite the public to submit to the Panel names of candidates for consideration. The amendment would impose specific advertising requirements on the Panel in order to publicize the invitation and selection process.

The amendment would require the Board of Education to establish a Parent and Community Advisory Council, and to meet with the Council at least twice every year to consult on issues relating to educational policy and community engagement in schools.

Finally, the amendment provides that the Board of Education has complete responsibility to administer, manage and operate the School District; and that the School District is not an agency of the City. This confirms existing law.