School district rebukes report of improper actions

The School District of Philadelphia yesterday denied a report in the Inquirer Sunday that Superintendent Arlene Ackerman steered a $7.5 million no-bid contract to a minority-owned Philadelphia firm to install surveillance cameras at 19 schools.

The story, co-written by the paper’s former editor-in-chief William Marimow, cited unnamed sources who said Ackerman may have violated state regulations in awarding the contract to IBS Communications Inc. over another company that had already been chosen. A source also claimed Ackerman’s decision was motivated by public-relations concern.

Deputy Superintendent Leroy Nunery II issued a statement yesterday defending the district’s actions. He claimed that “in their zeal to accomplish a difficult assignment” staff members prematurely contacted another firm, Security and Data Technologies Inc., and that contract was expedited to prevent further violence.

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