When a school district has a $629 million budget gap, despite months of warnings that hard times are coming, then says it's going to have to cut full-day kindergarten, then turns around and says actually, no, cutting that won't be necessary after all — well, you start to wonder who's in charge.
At the School District of Philadelphia, the people in charge are the members of the School Reform Commission. The SRC is a five-member body created by state law and charged with overseeing the district's educational and financial affairs. The SRC hired Superintendent Arlene Ackerman and approves her budgets.
But the SRC is unelected, which means voters looking to hold someone accountable need to ask who's in charge of the SRC. And that's where things get tricky. The Educational Accountability Agreement signed yesterday by the city, state and SRC is aimed at enhancing oversight, because all of these folks are maybe-kinda-sorta in charge of the SRC.