Former Philadelphia schools superintendent Arlene Ackerman, who received a $905,000 buyout when she resigned in August, has applied for unemployment benefits.
Which raises the question: If you can’t live on nearly a million dollars for a little while, what good is an extra $573 a week going to do you?
Still, she’s technically qualified for it, according to ABC News. Though a new law will take large severance payments into account when determining unemployment compensation, that law won’t take effect until January.
Plus, like every other working person, Ackerman put part of her paychecks into the unemployment system, her attorney, Dean Weitzman, pointed out to ABC. So the money from the benefits really is hers.
Still … $905,000. You know?
Plus, she made $348,000 a year for three years as head of the Philadelphia School District. The $905,000 bought out the remaining years of her five-year contract. So it’s kind of like she’s getting her old salary – though, in fairness, her contract entitled her to a buyout of more than $1.5 million.
It’s not that she’s breaking any rules here. It’s just that the whole point of unemployment insurance is to provide survival money to people who – you know – need it.
At least 8.1 percent of the state is unemployed. And the vast majority of those probably – I haven’t researched this, but I’m just guessing – did not get million-dollar buyouts from their last jobs. Or any buyouts. At all.
It sounds like it’s entirely up to the former superintendent. But we’re just talking about $573 a week – at a time when 74,600 Pennsylvanians may lose their emergency unemployment benefits unless another extension gets passed in the next couple of weeks. Out of simple decency, Ackerman might want to let this one go.