Ex Philly Schools Chief Takes Heat for Unemployment Bid

Former district employees say that Arlene Ackerman doesn't deserve another dime from the city.

By Jorge Rivas Nov 30, 2011

Former Philly schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, who was given a nearly $1-million buyout earlier this year, has applied for unemployment. The news comes as the school after reports that as school’s chief, Ackerman had previously tried to prevent some district employees from collecting unemployment insurance.

Ackerman was pushed out of her position earlier this year after several controversies surfaced: the district awarded a no-bid contract to a "minority firm," so-called "race wars" erupted at a South Philadelphia High School, and the district couldn’t handle a whopping budget deficit that had accumulated on Ackerman’s watch.

On Tuesday School District spokesman Fernando Gallard confirmed that Ackerman wants to collect state unemployment benefits.

"The former superintendent did apply for unemployment," Gallard told KYW Newsradio today.

This comes after taxpayers funded a $905,000 buyout when she was shown the door in August.

Ackerman was making nearly $350,000 a year when she was forced to leave her job, and she’ll likely be eligible for $573 a week, the highest weekly benefit provided by the state.

The news isn’t going over well with former district employees who say that Ackerman made their lives more difficult after they lost their jobs with the district.

"These people were really hurting, really needed it," Michael Lodise, the head of the school police officers’ union told the local CBS news affiliate. Lodise fought for several months to get unemployment compensation – and eventually succeeded – for 120 school police officers laid off in June.

"And here’s a woman with almost a million dollars, and she wants unemployment besides. I just don’t understand it," Lodise went on to say