The resignations of two valuable members of the School Reform Commission - Marjorie Neff and Feather Houstoun - not only raises the question of who could capably fill their shoes, but whether the toothless SRC has outlived its usefulness in serving Philadelphia's schoolchildren.

Both Houstoun and Neff, the SRC's chairwoman, announced their resignations Wednesday. Houstoun will leave the school board Oct. 14 and Neff on Nov. 3. Both women's terms would expire in January. Mayor Kenney will name Neff's replacement while Gov. Wolf will choose Houstoun's successor, which must be confirmed by the state Senate.

That bifurcated process speaks to the political climate in which the SRC was created in 2001. In exchange for millions in additional state funding for Philadelphia schools, Mayor John Street made a deal with Gov. Mark Schweiker that gave the state majority control of a new commission to replace the city-appointed school board. It would be hard to call the result a rousing success.

Fifteen years after the SRC's birth, Philadelphia schools still beg for adequate funding from the state and city. And while notable academic progress has occurred at times, it has never been enough to stem an exodus of children to charter schools, which by law must be allocated increasingly large slices of the School District's budget. After all, charters are public schools too.

The SRC model, which has produced 20 commissioners appointed by various mayors and governors, removes any semblance of accountability. Dedicated members like Neff and Houstoun do their best to represent the interests of schoolchildren. But the public has no direct influence on commissioners. They can't be voted out, and mayors and governors don't always accurately convey the public's concerns and wishes.

Like SRC members, superintendents have also come and gone, with each one leaving behind a formula that was supposed to make Philadelphia schools great again. Paul Vallas led the district for five years before heading to New Orleans. Arlene Ackerman was in charge three years before her contact was bought out. Leroy D. Nunnery was interim superintendent about a year before being replaced by William R. Hite Jr. in 2012.

Council President Darrell Clarke and Councilwoman Helen Gym want the five-member SRC abolished. But to maintain its independence, the legislature gave the power to kill the panel to the SRC. Faced with that reality, SRC critics want Wolf and Kenney to choose new commissioners who would shut down the SRC to replace Neff, Houstoun, and Sylvia Simms, whose term also expires in January.

Replacing the SRC makes sense, especially in light of recent court decisions that invalidated the panel's ability to impose workplace rules despite union objections. It also makes sense for the SRC to be the central authority in determining its replacement, rather than City Council, where unavoidable politics will be at an even higher pitch.

But replacing the SRC should not be done in haste. A key issue will be whether a new school board should have taxing authority to raise money for schools. Possibly, but there should be a referendum component to curb spending. Other cities do it, Philadelphia can too.