Despite School Budget Woes, City Plans $137K Ackerman Statue

by Bartleby Baumgartner

City approves a $137,000 bronze memorial statue to honor the former schools chief. 

Artist's vision of Ackerman statue

Artist’s vision of Ackerman statue

PHILADELPHIA, PA  In a highly controversial decision from their headquarters beneath Billy Penn, City of Brotherly Love officials announced this morning that former superintendent of Philadelphia public schools, Arlene Ackerman, will be honored later this year for her achievements with a life size bronze memorial statue crafted in her image and likeness, valued at approximately $137,000.

Ackerman, the Richard R. Green Award winner for being the nation’s top urban school leader in 2010, and whose tragic passing earlier this winter caught many by surprise, is the first Philadelphia superintendent to be honored with such a memorial.

“The question is, where do you put it?” said a City of Brotherly Love spokesperson.  “The consensus seems to be to put it outside 440 North Broad Street, and install a reflecting pool and flood lights around it.  The pool and flood lights would be another twenty-five grand or so, but the mayor just raised property taxes, so this shouldn’t be an issue.”

Several students from the University of the Arts suggested the statue may have a place either outside the New Barnes or perhaps at the base of the Art Museum steps.

“They should just put it next to the Rocky statue,” Collin Crothers, a sophomore in graphic design, said.  “You could even turn the two statues to face each other, like they were going to have a boxing match.  Rocky versus Queen Arlene.  There you go.  That’s the theme for Rocky VII.  I’m going to call up Sly Stallone’s agent and pitch the idea right now.”

Mandy Assgrapes, a junior majoring in marbling, said, “Put it atop City Hall with Ben Franklin.  That’s Ben Franklin up there, right?”

Wrong.  It’s William Penn.

Still, Assgrapes’ idea isn’t too far fetched.  Several City of Brotherly Love Councilmen actually brought up the notion of spending upwards of an additional $10,000 to bring in a crane and mount the Ackerman statue along side Billy Penn, and even began to solicit bids on the contract.

A councilman who asked to remain anonymous said he didn’t care about trivialities such as cost and location, as long as the job was done with union labor.

“The statue’s a beautiful thing,” he said.  “Let’s just do it right and bring in the proper people, you know, our guys.  That’s the way Queen Arlene would have wanted it.”

The statue is set to be unveiled by bronze sculpture artist Sylvester McMonkey McBean at the beginning of June.