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Funding

NEWS
July 25, 2014
WE CAN'T talk about the struggles of the Philadelphia School District without taking aim at the inequities in the state's approach to funding the schools throughout the state. For one thing, the per-pupil allocations for Philadelphia are lower than many other districts. Cuts made in basic education funding have often led to larger per-pupil cuts to poorer districts like ours and smaller cuts to wealthier districts. And a rational funding formula that would better account for the economic realities of each district rather than a flat generic formula had only a brief and shining moment before the Corbett administration abandoned it. The inequities in school funding were driven home dramatically earlier this week when Daily News columnist John Baer analyzed reserve-fund balances of schools around the state, and found $4 billion in total reserve funds.
NEWS
July 22, 2014
THIS IS NOT a plea for more school funding. Not even as Philly kids, teachers and parents await word on whether schools are shuttered in September for lack of funding. This is a reminder that the money's already there. It's a reminder of how Pennsylvania's vast, expensive public-education system hoards tax dollars in multiple and movable accounts. It's about how public officials at every level who don't want to seem "anti-education" allow the hoarding - unquestioned, unchallenged.
NEWS
July 19, 2014 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Republicans are routing Democrats when it comes to raising money in the four most competitive House races in the Philadelphia region. The Republicans in those contests have more than three times as much cash on hand as the Democrats: $5.36 million to $1.64 million as of June 30, according to campaign filings released this week. In three of the four races, the Republican candidates raised at least twice as much in the latest reporting period as their Democratic rivals.
NEWS
July 17, 2014 | By Jessica Parks, Inquirer Staff Writer
In a report Tuesday, Montgomery County Controller Stewart J. Greenleaf Jr. said an underfunded pension system is a blemish on the county's otherwise improving financial outlook. The county ended 2013 with an operating surplus of $6.9 million, which it used to bring the reserve fund closer to the recommended 10 percent level. But the county made only $3.4 million of its required $11 million payment to the retirement fund. Greenleaf said the county should commit to making the full required retirement payment in 2014.
NEWS
July 14, 2014 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
PRESIDENT Obama's education secretary said Philadelphia schools are "starved for resources" and strongly urged state lawmakers to step up investment in education during a visit to the city yesterday. Arne Duncan's comments followed a roundtable discussion at Community College of Philadelphia with Mayor Nutter and a dozen young men of color about their challenges in education. "The children of Philly deserve better than what they have. The lack of funding, the lack of commitment at the state level is simply unacceptable," Duncan said.
NEWS
July 11, 2014
IT'S TEMPTING to slam the state Legislature for failing to accomplish one simple task - pass a $2-per-pack cigarette tax in Philadelphia to help fund the schools. But, in our estimation, the Legislature has failed to accomplish not one but five simple tasks, any one of which would have helped the city's schools open on time, with more than bare-bones staffing. And that turns a single glitchy bill into a sweeping and utter failure of leadership. Because of last-minute tinkering with the cigarette-tax bill, the law that was on its way to Gov. Corbett's desk must now go back to the House, where success is iffy.
NEWS
July 9, 2014 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Albert D. Risley Jr., 86, of Souderton, a Philadelphia-area businessman and later a fund-raiser for a business lobbying organization, died Friday, July 4, at Grandview Hospital in Sellersville from complications of heart failure. Mr. Risley spent 25 years in the refractory and chrome-plating industries as a salesman working for E.J. Lavino & Co. in Philadelphia; a local salesman for the A.P. Green Co., based in the Midwest; and a plant manager for the Tibon Plating Co. in Norristown.
NEWS
July 8, 2014 | By Kristin E. Holmes, Inquirer Staff Writer
Aspiring Broadway choreographer Terrance Calvert was in hospice care but still talking about the thrill of performing. The 21-year-old dancer, who had walked into the Upper Darby Summer Stage community theater as a teenager with "behavioral issues," wanted other kids to find what he had. So Calvert drafted his mother and a buddy to carry out a mission that he wouldn't be able to execute himself - develop a scholarship program for youngsters who...
NEWS
July 8, 2014 | By Clark Mindock, Inquirer Staff Writer
When Frandy Jean moved to the United States two years ago from Haiti, Brother Daoud Bey was one of the first people to help him connect to and integrate into the South Jersey artist community. Now, with his own gallery in Haddon Heights that he opened to give young people the chance to show their art, Jean, 25, hopes to help Bey, 45, who is now in the hospital. "He gave me a lot of opportunities to work with the Camden County Arts," said Jean, who is helping to organize a July 10 fund-raiser.
NEWS
July 4, 2014 | By Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writer
For school districts in the Philadelphia region, this is one of those times when more feels like less. Although the $29.1 billion 2014-15 state spending plan approved this week by lawmakers in Harrisburg includes slightly more money for K-12 education than last year, the new dollars are fewer than what Gov. Corbett proposed in February, and not enough for most districts to pay rising bills - especially pensions - without hiking taxes. "We're being engulfed in a negative swing," said Jeff Cuff, the business manager of the William Penn School District in Delaware County, where the boost in state block-grant dollars was both too little and too late to prevent the school board from raising 2015 property taxes by 3 percent, the most allowable under state law. The district's property-tax rate already was among the highest in the region.
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