The Fairness Center represented School Reform Commission (“SRC”) member and former Democratic City Councilman Bill Green in his fight to be reinstated as rightful Chairman of the SRC. Governor Wolf illegally removed Mr. Green as Chairman of the SRC after Mr. Green’s reforms drew the ire of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (“PFT”).
Governor Wolf’s spokesperson stated that Mr. Green was removed as Chairman because the Governor was disappointed by Mr. Green’s support for more privately-run and publicly-financed charter schools after Governor Wolf had emphasized he opposed the “charterization” of the District. The Governor replaced Mr. Green as Chairman with fellow SRC member Marjorie Neff, “because she supports his [Wolf’s] vision for the School District of Philadelphia.” Marjorie Neff did not vote to approve any new charters in the February 18, 2015 meeting.
Governor Wolf’s removal of Mr. Green was contrary to law, which allows removal only “upon proof by clear and convincing evidence of malfeasance or misfeasance in office,” and only “with a written statement of the reasons for removal and an opportunity for a hearing.” Mr. Green was removed without either.
The General Assembly intended that the SRC, a five-member commission filled by the Governor and Mayor of Philadelphia together, operate both locally and independently. Ultimately, this case is about the SRC’s ability to govern Philadelphia’s schools independently, insulated from political influence and gubernatorial interference.
In December 2017, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania sustained the respondents’ preliminary objections and dismissed the petitioner’s application for summary relief and amended petition for review.