A state panel charged with improving the Philadelphia school system says it will move forward with plans to transfer control of 20 failing city schools to Edison Schools Inc., the nation's largest for-profit manager of public schools, despite an inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Commission that revealed questionable accounting practices by the company.

Edison is one of seven outside managers tapped by the panel to help the nation's seventh largest school district overcome a $216 million budget deficit, chronic teacher shortages, crumbling buildings, and poor technology infrastructure. In all, 42 of the city's schools


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