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NEWS
June 19, 2015 | BY WENDY RUDERMAN, Daily News Staff Writer rudermw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5924
AND . . . that's a wrap! City Council yesterday held its last voting session before adjourning for summer. During the long session, members gave final approval to a sea of bills and resolutions, with "aye" votes for everything from a new lease between Philadelphia International Airport and the airlines that fly there to the city's $3.9 billion operating budget for fiscal year 2016. Among the top items on Council's agenda was a school-funding package. Council members voted in favor of a wave of tax hikes that would raise $70 million to help rescue the sinking public school district from an estimated $85 million deficit.
NEWS
June 19, 2015 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Passenger rail operators working to install an upgraded safety system would get priority for federal grants and loans under a bill introduced Thursday by Sens. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) and Roger Wicker (R., Miss.), the top lawmakers on a subcommittee overseeing rail lines. The grant tweaks are part of a measure providing four years of increased funding for Amtrak, and come after the derailment of Train 188 in Philadelphia brought new attention to Positive Train Control, an electronic monitoring system that national safety advocates say could have prevented the crash.
NEWS
June 19, 2015 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
A BIPARTISAN commission yesterday unanimously recommended a new funding formula for Pennsylvania schools that would allocate more state funding to districts with higher levels of poverty, English-language learners and charter schools. The proposed formula from the Basic Education Funding Commission also factors in a school district's total enrollment and assigns weights to other elements that impact learning to determine how they drive up the cost of educating a student. Additionally, it compares a district's median household income with the state median household income.
NEWS
June 12, 2015 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-854-4172
CITY COUNCIL yesterday paved the way for Philadelphia's public schools to get millions more in new funding for next year, but far less than what had been requested by school officials - who weren't even clear on just how much money they'd be receiving. That lack of communication at a critical time in the school-funding process appeared to sum up the tattered relationship between Council President Darrell Clarke and Schools Superintendent William Hite. After two Council committees had completed their meetings, Clarke told reporters the bills that won preliminary approval would send $70 million to the school district, while an additional $30 million could be generated from the sale of tax liens.
NEWS
June 11, 2015 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
DESPITE CITY Council raising property and use-and-occupancy taxes in recent years to support Philadelphia's ailing public schools, revenue from those two sources is down slightly, district officials told the Daily News . According to the district, collections from property taxes and U&O are expected to total $782 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, down about 2 percent from the previous year and less than 1 percent from 2012-13....
NEWS
June 10, 2015 | By Jonathan Lai, Inquirer Staff Writer
A $1 million donation to Rowan University will help 50 low-income New Jersey students pay for their college educations, while a high school support program will help them get there. The donation comes from Robert O. Carr, who cofounded a Princeton-based credit-card processing company and started a scholarship program, Give Something Back Foundation, in 2001 in his native Illinois. "Rowan fits into our organization's goals and objectives: To have a school that's for working-class people, for students who are the first in their families to ever go to college.
NEWS
June 9, 2015 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
PENNSYLVANIA received a "D" for the way it distributes K-12 education funding to school districts on a new report card from an education advocacy group. Titled "Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card," the evaluation from Newark, N.J., -based Education Law Center says Pennsylvania is one of 14 states in the U.S. with a "regressive" school funding system which allocates less funding to districts with high levels of poverty. According to the organization's fourth report card, based on 2012 data, high-poverty districts in Pennsylvania received about 9 percent less per-pupil than wealthier districts.
NEWS
June 6, 2015 | By Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia City Council launched its school-funding counterplan to Mayor Nutter's proposed property-tax increase Thursday, calling for raising taxes on parking lots and businesses as well as a much milder boost in property taxes than Nutter wants. The three bills introduced Thursday would generate far less than what the School District says it needs. They would bring in an estimated $70 million - more than two-thirds of the $103 million Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. is seeking.
NEWS
June 5, 2015 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
With a budget deadline looming, Philadelphia City Council is close to crafting its alternative to Mayor Nutter's proposed property-tax hike to fund the city's public schools. In closed-door meetings this week, Council considered four potential revenue streams - building blocks that would fall at least $20 million short of the $103 million the School District has asked for, according to sources familiar with the discussions. On the table are a sale of city tax liens; an increase in the city's use-and-occupancy tax on businesses; a hike to the parking tax; and a real estate tax increase far more modest than the 9.34 percent proposed by Nutter.
NEWS
June 5, 2015 | BY STEPHANIE FARR, Daily News Staff Writer farrs@phillynews.com, 215-854-4225
PHILLY JESUS has started a digital collection plate for his ministries on GoFundMe.com, with a goal of raising $70,000. "We chose 70 because the number seven is God's number," said Philly Jesus, whose real name is Michael Grant. Grant, a 29-year-old recovering heroin addict, has been dressing as Jesus and hanging out at LOVE Park since April 2014. He has a large following on Twitter and Instagram and said he dresses as Jesus as a way to get others to approach him so he can share the story of Christ.
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