Item Coversheet

Action Item - 55.

Title: Resolution of the Board of Education of the School District of Philadelphia and Board of Directors of Intermediate Unit 26 (Added 3.26.20)

Board of Education Meeting Date:

Action under consideration


A Resolution of the Board of Education (“Board”) of the School District of Philadelphia (“School District”), including in its capacity as the Board of Directors of Intermediate Unit-26 (“IU-26”), authorizing the Superintendent of the School District, including in his capacity as Executive Director of IU-26, to take action, including but not limited to the expenditure of money, entering into contracts, and suspension of Board policies, in furtherance of School District operations and the best interests of children, during, as part of, and necessitated by School District, city, state, and federal COVID-19 response efforts. No portion of this resolution may be construed to authorize actions not expressly needed to facilitate the COVID-19 response efforts, unless specifically permitted herein.  “Board” shall refer to the Board of Education of the School District and Board of Directors of IU-26, and “Superintendent” shall refer to the Superintendent of the School District and Executive Director of IU-26.


WHEREAS, on March 6, 2020, Governor Wolf issued a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency due to COVID-19; on March 13, 2020, the President declared a national state of emergency; and the Governor and Mayor Kenney issued a series of orders between March 13 and 23, 2020, including “life sustaining” business, “stay at home,” and school closure orders, with the effect that all public and private school buildings will be closed at least through April 6, 2020; and


WHEREAS, these orders impact operations of the School District, education of Philadelphia’s children, the convening of the Board, and public participation in board meetings; and


WHEREAS, the Superintendent possesses substantial discretion to take actions concerning operations, budgets, and spending during emergency circumstances and school closures under the Public School Code and Board policies; and Board Policies 611 and 820 authorize the Superintendent to procure goods or services during and on an emergency basis, relating to the protection of public health, welfare or safety of persons or property, education of students, and administration of the School District, without competitive procurement or advance Board authorization; and


WHEREAS, the Board may suspend the operation of Board policies and delegate additional authority to the Superintendent in a manner consistent with law; and 


WHEREAS, the Board recognizes the challenges confronting the School District caused by school closures, and it finds it in the best interests of the School District for the Board to support and supplement the Superintendent’s powers and authority by granting greater flexibility to meet these challenges without unnecessary delay, while simultaneously ensuring accountability; and


WHEREAS, the purpose of this emergency resolution is to ensure the continuity of operations of the School District, and support educational services for children, under the exigent circumstances caused by COVID-19.


NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved, that:


1. The Board hereby declares an emergency retroactive to March 13, 2020. This state of emergency shall continue for so long as school closures and/or federal, state, or local orders, laws or guidance concerning COVID-19 continue to impact School District operations and the provision of academic programming, instruction, and/or educational enrichment for all students.


2. The Board authorizes and delegates the power and authority to the Superintendent and his designees, in connection with closure of schools and COVID-19 response efforts, to:


(a) suspend, in whole or in part, Board policies and/or administrative procedures, if such suspension is necessary to implement any necessary action in response to COVID-19 efforts; 


(b) develop plans and acquire tools and services needed to facilitate, as feasible, equitable and accessible educational enrichment and resources, instructional programs, and/or academic supports and services for all children, including children with special needs, English Language Learners, and children with varying degrees of support and responsibilities where they live; for example, through a phased roll out during the school year, extended summer learning, and/or plans for compensatory education spanning into the 2020-2021 school year, reflective of evolving guidance, legislation, and School District capabilities;


(c)  enter into or amend contracts, without competitive procurement and with adjustment of pre-audit procedures while still maintaining internal financial controls; enter into memorandum of understanding; and accept grants, gifts, and donations in connection with COVID-19 efforts;


(d) purchase equipment, resources, technology, and other goods and services, without competitive procurement, and train teachers and others in methods and strategies to use technology and remote education techniques to enhance the School District’s ability to provide academic programs, instruction, enrichment and/or supports to students and families; and


(e) spend operating, capital, and categorical funds that are within the Board-adopted fiscal year 2020 budgets, as necessitated by COVID-19 response efforts.


3. Consistent with the delegation of authority and powers in paragraph 2, the Superintendent or his designee shall consult with the Board President and Chairperson(s) of the Student Achievement Committee regarding the development of plans under paragraph 2(b); keep the Board apprised of plans for serving all of the School District’s children, who come with diverse educational needs and life circumstances; inform the Board President of actions being taken in accordance with the powers and authority granted to the Superintendent in this Resolution at regular intervals between Board meetings; and ensure that the Superintendent or his designees make a presentation to the Board of such actions at the following regularly scheduled Board meeting.


4. The augmented contracting and spending authorization granted by this Resolution is limited to the purposes set forth in this Resolution. Additionally: (a)  contracts for and expenditures to support technology-based delivery of educational resources, academic instruction, and enrichment (including training and professional development), pursuant to the authorization, shall not exceed an aggregate amount of $15 million, without additional Board approval; and (b) all other individual contracts and expenditures made in accordance with this Resolution of more than $1 million should be made in consultation with the Board President.  Contracts and expenditures authorized by the Board through voting at a public action meeting are not subject to these provisions.


5. The delegation of powers and authority to the Superintendent or his designees given by this Resolution shall apply until the next regularly scheduled Board meeting, and may be renewed (or reinstated following a gap in continuity) by the Board at a public action meeting or special meeting. 


6. The Board additionally authorizes the Superintendent to designate someone, in consultation with the Board President, to act in his place in the event he becomes ill or unable to fulfill the duties of Superintendent.  In the event the Superintendent becomes incapacitated prior to making such designation, Naomi Wyatt shall be the automatic designee until the Superintendent is able to and resumes his role, or designates someone else, or the designee declines or steps down in which case the Board shall appoint someone to serve in the role.

 Office Originating Request: Board of Education