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NEWS
May 5, 2016 | By George Bezanis, $util.encode.html($!item.bycredit)
AS A CAREER educator dedicated to improving our schools and ensuring that children in our poorest communities get the chance to succeed, I applaud Mayor Kenney for kicking off his term in office by seeking to expand educational opportunities for Philadelphia's most vulnerable children. I have serious concerns, however, that the mayor's plan to expand universal pre-kindergarten to every Philadelphia child will not achieve what it is designed to do: putting tens of thousands of our poorest children on the path to academic success.
NEWS
May 4, 2016 | By Max Weiss and Wendell Pritchett
Over the past five years, the funding crisis in the School District of Philadelphia has become well known to everyone in the region, as well as many people across the country. As a result of cuts in state and federal funding during the summer of 2011, the district faced a deficit in excess of $600 million for fiscal 2012. In preparing the fiscal 2013 and 2014 budgets, the School District faced gaps in excess of $300 million. While the district has secured funding (mostly from the city)
NEWS
May 4, 2016 | By Karen Langley and Angela Couloumbis, HARRISBURG BUREAU
HARRISBURG - The next state budget is not due for two months, but after last year's gridlock, legislators on Monday took a step toward preventing a repeat of the stalemate that kept school funding bottled up for months. Returning after a two-week recess, members of the House Education Committee approved a bill that would keep school funds flowing if a budget is not enacted by Aug. 15 - six weeks after the next fiscal year starts July 1. The governor's office and Republican legislative leaders were not admitting the need for such an insurance policy.
NEWS
May 1, 2016
Twenty-four Senate Democrats are asking their colleagues in Congress to help schools pay for the testing of lead levels in drinking water, calling it an investment to ensure the health and safety of the nation's children. The move is the result of the drinking-water crisis in Flint, Mich., which helped shine a light on a loophole in federal law that exempts many schools from having to test their water for lead contamination. After revelations that the drinking water in nearly half of Newark's public schools had elevated levels of lead, New Jersey lawmakers have proposed requiring every school in the state to test its water for the contaminant.
NEWS
May 1, 2016
On April 13, the Support Center for Child Advocates hosted its annual benefit and auction, celebrating 39 years of pro bono legal and social-service advocacy for abused and neglected children. More than 800 people gathered in the Crystal Tea Room at Wanamaker. Guests enjoyed an open bar, hor d'oeuvres, a silent auction, an awards program, and an exciting live auction. This year's 2016 Lois G. Forer Child Advocacy Award winners were Penny and Robert Fox, philanthropists and founders of the James Fox Foundation and Robert A. Fox Leadership Program, which supports education for hundreds of youth and teaches the importance of community service and civic involvement.
NEWS
April 30, 2016 | By Claudia Vargas, Staff Writer
The city's Board of Pensions and Retirement has hired the son of longtime Register of Wills Ron Donatucci to be the chief investment officer of the city's beleaguered pension fund. Michael Donatucci, 30, is currently an investment strategist at SEI Institutional Group, a Montgomery County-based asset management firm. He has been with the firm for eight years. He will be paid $175,000 in his new position. Rob Dubow, pension board chairman and the city's finance director, said Donatucci had "precisely the level of experience and expertise necessary" for the job. Dubow said Donatucci's family connections did not influence the board's decision.
NEWS
April 29, 2016
CAMPAIGNING in the city last week, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders criticized Mayor Kenney's sugary-drink tax proposal as "regressive," saying the burden would unfairly fall on poor people, who on average drink more sugared soda and other soft drinks. Sanders meant it was regressive in the economic sense. But, there is evidence the tax may be "progressive" in a public health sense by lowering the rate of diabetes and obesity, which also on average afflict more poor people.
NEWS
April 29, 2016 | By Mensah M. Dean, Staff Writer
Buoyed by the end of the state budget stalemate and the creation of a new school funding formula this month, Philadelphia education advocates on Wednesday called on the state legislature to pump $400 million in new money into 2016-17 school budgets. If the request becomes reality, the city School District would receive 18.9 percent, or about $75 million, of that new funding, said the advocates, who held a news conference in front of the district's North Broad Street headquarters. The school funding formula, used to determine how much money each district receives from the state, is laudable for allocating funding based on the number of students in each district weighted for factors such as the number of students who are poor, who are learning English, and who have newly enrolled in charter schools, advocates say. But the formula is only as good as its funding, the advocates stressed, saying schools across the state are underfunded annually by more than $3 billion.
NEWS
April 25, 2016 | By Martha Woodall, Staff Writer
Farah Jimenez, a Philadelphia School Reform Commission member and a former head of the People's Emergency Center, has been named president and CEO of the Philadelphia Education Fund. The independent nonprofit, which champions quality public education in the city and provides scholarships to help students attend college, is scheduled to make the announcement Monday. "We are excited that Farah will be driving Philadelphia Education Fund's continued mission of delivering exceptional outcomes for all Philadelphia students by developing great teachers, and building paths to college and career success," David Baker, chairman of the fund's board of directors, said in a statement.
NEWS
April 24, 2016 | By Stephan Salisbury, Culture Writer
More than $2.6 million was awarded Wednesday to 284 arts and cultural organizations around the city by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, about the same number as last year. Of those, 20 are receiving their first grants, fund officials said. Since its founding in 1991, the fund has distributed $40 million in unrestricted operating funds to hundreds of groups, large and small. The fund also announced that the Georgia E. Gregory Interdenominational School of Music is winner of the Councilman David Cohen Award, a noncash award recognizing an arts organization for its economic and social justice work.
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