In June 2018, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney will take over our city’s schools by appointing a nine-member school board to replace the state-controlled School Reform Commission.
In doing so, the mayor will become directly accountable for a $2.9 billion school system that has underserved Philadelphia’s children for decades. And while I laud the mayor for his willingness to take this on, I have a message for Philadelphia’s parents.
The ongoing battle over education in Philadelphia is not the mayor’s to fight. It’s ours.
That’s why School District parents like me must go into this new era with a clear understanding of this indisputable fact: When a politician gains control of a $2.9 billion budget, his friends and campaign contributors will line up for their share of the bounty. As parents, as Philadelphians, as the taxpayers whose dollars fund the system, we must make sure that our interests come before theirs.
That means parents, and not the mayor, are accountable for making sure that the lion’s share of the $2.9 billion goes toward funding our children’s educations, and not toward enriching suburban contractors who don’t employ Philadelphians of color.