September 12, 2015 |
Philadelphia City Council began its fall business Thursday with a host of new proposals that ranged from scrutinizing how the city compensates for damage from water-main breaks to requiring many public bathrooms to give up "Men" and "Women" labels and become gender-neutral. The restroom legislation, which would cover only single-occupant bathrooms and not those with multiple stalls, garnered praise from Mayor Nutter. "This bill, which expands and strengthens gender-identity protections, is an important step in support of our LGBT community and reinforces Philadelphia's role as a leader on LGBT issues across the country," Nutter said in a statement.
September 10, 2015 |
OUTSIDE OF G.W. Carver High School of Engineering and Science in North Philadelphia, towers of black and gold balloons greeted students yesterday for their first day of school. Looming large over the well wishes and jokes about homework, though, were tensions over the unresolved state budget. "It doesn't impact us today, but it will impact us in the long run," Superintendent William Hite told reporters before he addressed a few dozen students and parents gathered at Carver to mark the first day, along with Mayor Nutter and other local dignitaries.
September 9, 2015 |
LIKE CLOCKWORK, tens of thousands of students will descend on the city's public schools today, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after saying goodbye to summer. But another all-too-familiar tradition is the lingering concern about the district's funding - this time, due to the fact state lawmakers have not adopted a budget, meaning it cannot dispense dollars to the commonwealth's 501 school districts. Superintendent William Hite has said if the budget is not passed this month, the district could eventually run out of money.
September 1, 2015
LET'S BEGIN BY saying we agree with Gov. Wolf's belief that the way the state funds special education for students in charter schools is messed up. The formula used isn't related to actual cost. A school is given the same amount whether the child has a mild disability - say, requiring speech therapy three times a week - or is severely handicapped - a wheelchair-bound child who requires special transportation and the presence of a full-time aide. Local school districts, which have to foot the bill for special-ed students in charters, say the cost of paying this subsidy to charters imperils their own financial stability.
August 27, 2015 |
A Delaware County Court judge ruled Tuesday that the Chester Upland School District must abide by the state's charter school funding formula and keep paying the charter schools that now educate about half of the struggling district's students. After a hearing that stretched over two days, Judge Chad Kenney said the commonwealth's plan was "wholly inadequate" to restore the district to financial stability. He also faulted the state's and district's lawyers as failing to provide "meaningful specifics or details" as to how they arrived at the plan.
August 24, 2015 |
At first glance, Gov. Wolf's decision last week to go to court to change how Chester's charter schools are funded appeared to mimic President Obama's strategy of seeking alternatives to a gridlocked legislative process. The legislative stalemate blocking passage of Wolf's proposed budget, which boosts funding for education, may have been a factor in his decision. But the Chester Upland School District's decades-old flirtation with fiscal disaster was what led Wolf to take legal action to ensure its schools open on time.
August 23, 2015 |
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey ordered Friday that a uniformed officer be taken off street patrol and that the officer's gun be taken from him after Facebook videos surfaced showing the officer pressuring a motorist to buy tickets for a police union fund-raiser. In the videos, Officer Matthew Zagursky tells a driver that if he buys tickets to the fund-raiser, Zagursky will not tow his vehicle. The officer also uses a homophobic slur while apparently joking with the man at another point.
August 20, 2015 |
The Wolf administration on Tuesday urged a Delaware County Court judge to drastically cut how much the financially troubled Chester Upland School District pays charter schools for special-education students and online learning. Gov. Wolf said the district's survival could hinge on winning court approval for the cuts in charter reimbursements, which would total an estimated $24.7 million in the 2015-16 school year. "This needs to end," Wolf said, referring to Chester Upland's 25-year history of financial crises, which have led to millions of dollars in emergency state aid, massive layoffs, and a plunge in enrollment in traditional public schools.
August 15, 2015 |
Laying down a position from which top Democrats will not back away, State Sen. Vincent Hughes said Thursday there would be no Pennsylvania budget without a Marcellus Shale tax and millions of dollars in new education spending. Heading into a second straight day of budget talks with Gov. Wolf and leaders of the four legislative caucuses, Hughes (D., Phila.) said falling state standardized test scores demonstrated a need for greater funding for schools across the state. Lawmakers and the governor are more than a month late in delivering a state spending plan.
August 14, 2015 |
After 10 people were shot last weekend in Philadelphia, three of them fatally, U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey (D., Pa.) visited North Philadelphia on Wednesday to tout legislation that would invest federal funds in local crime prevention programs, saying the "school-to-prison pipeline" needs to be cut off. "It's almost incalculable, the return on investment you get for the life of that young person," said Casey, who was joined by local leaders including District...