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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 MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-854-4172
WITH JUST TWO weeks to go before City Council recesses for the summer, it does not appear likely that $105 million in new funding for the School District of Philadelphia will be approved, Council President Darrell Clarke said yesterday. "There does not appear to be support for that at this time, after four successive years of raising taxes to the tune of over $350 million," a somber Clarke said. "There's not a lot of appetite to have another significant tax increase. " He said Council would "push forward" to make sure the school district's $85 million budget deficit is dealt with this month, but added that the legislative body would use means other than a tax increase to help the schools provide educational enhancements requested by Superintendent William Hite.
NEWS
June 5, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. understands City Council's frustration - another spring, another multimillion-dollar ask from the perpetually needy Philadelphia school system. And this time, it comes with a request from the mayor for a $105 million property-tax increase. But though it's often glossed over, the Philadelphia School District faces a sizable 2015-16 budget gap, and so the first $85 million that comes in from the city or state does not fund additional counselors or literacy programs.
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.
NEWS
June 5, 2015 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
The New Jersey agency that enforces election law has filed a complaint against Barbara Buono, alleging that the 2013 Democratic gubernatorial candidate illegally used her Senate campaign account to help finance her unsuccessful run against Gov. Christie. The complaint, disclosed Wednesday by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Committee (ELEC), says Buono could face up to $13,600 in fines. She can seek a hearing to argue her case. ELEC filed the complaint May 27. Buono, a former state senator, established a reelection fund in March 2012 and disclosed she used the account to pay $37,250 to Myers Research & Strategies, a public-opinion research firm, according to the complaint.
NEWS
June 1, 2015 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
TEACHER ERIN Furlong has been hoping that someone would hear her pleas for more classroom resources. Well, the second-grade teacher got a personal audience - albeit brief - yesterday with Gov. Wolf. The governor, who was joined by first lady Frances Wolf, Mayor Nutter and Superintendent William Hite, visited Hunter Elementary as part of his "Schools That Teach" tour to boost his plan for education funding. Wolf's proposal would generate more than a billion dollars by 2017 by imposing a severance tax on natural gas drillers.
NEWS
May 30, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
In the face of steep funding cuts, the city school system is now spending less to educate each student than it had since 2008, and benefits are costing nearly $8,000 more per teacher than they did three years ago. Mix lower revenues with rising fixed costs and the result is fewer dollars spent in Philadelphia School District classrooms, an outside analysis of district finances released Thursday found. Chief financial officer Matthew Stanski said the analysis underscored the points officials were trying to make this week to a skeptical, frustrated City Council: They keep coming back for more money year after year because the money they receive isn't enough to cover their fixed costs.
NEWS
May 29, 2015 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
WHILE NEWS headlines and lawmakers often focus on all that's wrong with the Philadelphia School District, Christine Carlson came before City Council with a different message yesterday: There is plenty going right. Carlson was among more than a dozen parents, educators and school advocates who urged Council to approve $105 million in new, recurring funding for the city's cash-strapped public schools, a topic that has resonated with voters in the last two citywide elections. "Much of the talk [Tuesday]
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