GOP Leaders Slam Tom Wolf for Booting Bill Green

They suggest that removing Bill Green from the SRC chairmanship will hurt kids.

Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, speaks Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa.

Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny.

Republican leaders in the General Assembly are decrying Gov. Tom Wolf‘s decision this week to oust Bill Green as chairman of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission. The move comes after Green went against Wolf’s wishes and voted this February to create seven new charter schools of 39 that were being proposed. (Five charters were ultimately approved.)

Wolf has appointed Marjorie Neff, who voted against every charter school application last month, to serve as the new chair of the SRC.

“It is unfortunate that Governor Wolf has, once again, chosen to side with public employee unions, in this case to the detriment of the children of Philadelphia,” said Republican Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati.

Likewise, Pennsylvania Speaker of the House, Republican Mike Turzai, said in a statement:

“This is not about costs, commissioners or courts, it’s about kids. Sadly, this point seems to be lost upon the governor. What’s further lost is the tremendous negative impact this questionable and seemingly retributive decision has on children and choices.

“Protecting kids and prioritizing positive educational outcomes over protecting a system that clearly tens-of-thousands of parents find failing would allow many more children the opportunity get a quality education in Philadelphia. Tragically, that hasn’t happened with the governor’s anti-choice positioning and the biggest loss from this continues to fall upon our children.”

Now onto the big question: How will this battle impact the upcoming budget season? Wolf is expected to propose more education funding statewide. Could his ouster of Green make it more difficult to push that and other parts of his fiscal plan through a Republican-controlled legislature, never a slam dunk to begin with?

When asked about how this could potentially affect budget negotiations, Turzai spokesman Jay Ostrich said, “We really need to see what the governor’s proposal is. … There have been scant details about what anything in the budget will look like.”

Wolf explained his decision to put Neff in charge in a statement: “We must make new investments in education and provide a fresh path forward for Philadelphia’s schools. Marjorie has dedicated her entire career to education, and she shares my vision for investing in public education so our children have the resources they need to succeed in a modern economy.”

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