Philadelphians want the School Reform Commission abolished and the city's public schools returned to local control, the city teachers union said Tuesday.

Nearly 97 percent of more than 3,000 city residents it surveyed - mostly public school parents - want the state takeover to end, said Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan.

The SRC was created in 2001 as a way to rapidly change a school district that was ailing financially and academically. Though the district has made incremental academic gains, it is fiscally in much worse shape than it was 13 years ago.

City Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell said she would introduce a nonbinding resolution endorsing the idea of local control, and Jordan said the union would try to have a nonbinding referendum placed on the November ballot asking all city voters to weigh in.

"The number-one issue people are talking about is schools," State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila.) said at a Tuesday news conference, adding that he believes that if the SRC can't advocate for adequate funding for the Philadelphia School District, it must go.

Terrilyn McCormick, a parent of two children in district schools, said the SRC is isolated from the community and buffered from the political ramifications of its decisions.

"Too often, the key stakeholders in our schools are marginalized or completely excluded from decision-making," McCormick said.

Most of those polled by members of the PFT and the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools said that if the SRC is abolished, they favor either an elected school board or a combination of an elected and appointed school board.

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