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Former SF Schools Chief Collects $1M Philly Buyout, Then Files Jobless Claim

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Former San Francisco and Philadelphia schools chief Arlene Ackerman. (CBS photo)

Former San Francisco and Philadelphia schools chief Arlene Ackerman. (CBS photo)

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PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CBS) – Former San Francisco schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman has filed for unemployment in Philadelphia after receiving a nearly $1-million buyout earlier this year to leave the same job there.

“The former superintendent did apply for unemployment,” Philadelphia School District spokesman Fernando Gallard told CBS on Thursday.

Ackerman’s request to collect state unemployment benefits comes after Philly taxpayers funded a $905,000 buyout when she was shown the door in August.

As part of her separation agreement, Philly’s School Reform Commission agreed not to contest any unemployment claim she might file.

The news wasn’t going over well many – including Michael Lodise, the head of the Philadelphia schools police officers’ union, who fought for several months to get unemployment compensation for 120 school police officers laid off in June.

“These people were really hurting, really needed it,” Lodise recalls. “And here’s a woman with almost a million dollars, and she wants unemployment besides. I just don’t understand it.”

Based on her former salary, Ackerman would be eligible for the Pennsylvania state maximum of $573 a week.

Ackerman had no comment, referring questions to her attorney, Dean Weitzman. Weitzman told CBS that Ackerman qualifies for unemployment benefits because she is unemployed and was asked to leave the school district but not fired for cause. It will be up to the state unemployment compensation board to determine whether to approve Ackerman’s claim.

In 2006, Ackerman was also shown the door in San Francisco, collecting $375,000 in severance pay. She then filed suit against the San Francisco Unified School District, claiming she was owed $172,000 more in unused benefits; that lawsuit was later dropped.

(Copyright 2011 CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved.)

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