Ex-school chief defends unemployment application

December 8, 2011 - 8:50 AM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The ousted former head of Philadelphia's public schools says she's only taking what's rightfully hers by applying for unemployment benefits after receiving a $900,000 contract buyout.

Arlene Ackerman tells WCAU-TV she received about $400,000 after taxes and lawyer fees as part of the severance package settled on in August.

The former superintendent is eligible for the state maximum of $573 a week, based on her former salary of about $350,000.

Ackerman told WCAU (http://bit.ly/uuvkFm ) she "didn't win the jackpot" by collecting the severance package. She said it was money she was entitled to because the district broke a contract that would have paid her through 2014.

Ackerman's leadership saw increased test scores and graduation rates but also clashes with community members, the teachers' union and elected officials.

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Information from: WCAU-TV, http://www.nbc10.com