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Superintendent to Stay in Philadelphia—for Now

The commission that oversees Philadelphia public schools attempted to tamp down rumors that Superintendent Arlene Ackerman is on the way out with a one-sentence statement released yesterday:

"The School Reform Commission remains committed to working with Superintendent Arlene Ackerman as stated under her employment agreement with the School District of Philadelphia."

The statement is not the most rousing endorsement of Ackerman's three-year tenure as the head of the 154,000-student district. But one of the sticking points to firing Ackerman was a reported $1.5 million severance package that she might be due as part of her contract.

In a Philadelphia Inquirer article, Ackerman said she was prepared to stay on and "fight," even as the commission cut funds from the Promise Academy program, one of her signature initiatives. Six chronically underperforming schools were given extra resources and put under the direct control of central-office officials. But instead of 11 more Promise Academies opening in 2011-12 as Ackerman wished, there will only be three. Also cut is Saturday school and one extended school day.

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