September 15, 2016 |
Lower Merion Township residents clashed at the first school board meeting since a Montgomery County judge ruled the district had unnecessarily raised taxes by claiming it was short on funds, when it actually had tens of millions of dollars in reserve. Of approximately 200 people who showed up Monday night, many of the two dozen who addressed the board criticized it for overtaxing the community and not being transparent about its budget process. Others praised the members for doing whatever it took - including per-pupil spending among the highest in the state - to provide a top-notch education for Lower Merion children.
September 3, 2016 |
To those he has vanquished in court - the aviation giants that have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to his crash-victim clients, the critics he has sued for libel, and most recently the Lower Merion School District, ordered this week to revoke a tax hike - it may come as a surprise that lawyer Arthur Alan Wolk loves puppies. "She's the sweetest thing on the planet," Wolk said, fussing over his new 13-week-old golden retriever during a phone call Wednesday from his vacation home in Del Mar, a beach town near San Diego.
September 1, 2016 |
A Montgomery County judge has ordered the Lower Merion School District to revoke its latest tax hike, saying the district misled taxpayers by projecting large budget deficits to justify raising taxes 4.4 percent when it actually had socked away millions of surplus dollars. In what may be an unprecedented win for Pennsylvania taxpayers, Common Pleas Judge Joseph A. Smyth said in his decision Monday that the district could increase taxes for 2016-17, but no more than 2.4 percent. The judge said he would "leave for another day" the question of rebates, refunds, and credits for those who already paid their current school tax bills.
August 29, 2016 |
On Monday, 12,000 Upper Darby students will head back to class in a district still embroiled in its summer-break drama - one that publicly opened with the surprise ouster of its superintendent and flared into a dispute over alleged racial imbalances that has drawn the attention of the NAACP. The root of the ruckus, however, goes further back to the past school year, Superintendent Richard F. Dunlap Jr.'s third - and last - at the helm of one of the most diverse districts in the region.
August 25, 2016 |
Fourth of seven parts. In at least 20 states, lawmakers have stripped locally elected school board members of their power in impoverished, mostly minority communities, leaving parents without a voice - or a vote - in their children's education, according to a News21 state-by-state analysis of school takeovers. More than 5.6 million people live in places where state officials took over entire districts or individual schools in the past six years, according to News21 data collected from state government agencies.
August 23, 2016 |
Why should I care about you? Why should I care about your problems, your challenges, whether or not your day is going well, your child is sick, or your job is stressful? I don't even know you and may never even meet you. Why do you, a stranger, matter to someone who will never know your name? Because it's the right thing to do. I'm not a touchy-feely, hand-holding, let's sing "Kumbaya" sort of fellow. I don't protest. I don't go to a house of worship or even own a ribbon-shaped car magnet.
August 17, 2016 |
A group of Camden residents who want the city's school board to be an elected body rather than one appointed by the mayor suffered a setback Monday when a judge dismissed their lawsuit against the school district. The suit, filed in April in Superior Court in Camden, asked that city residents be allowed to vote on whether to appoint or elect members of the board. It also argued that the question should have gone before voters in April 2014, as specified in 2010 legislation that ended the state's takeover of the City of Camden.
August 6, 2016
In the Upper Darby School District, life doesn't just imitate art these days. It upstages it. As the play Nice Work If You Can Get It ends its run this weekend at the district's Performing Arts Center, the Upper Darby school board finds itself deep in a drama that is steeped in mystery and shrouded in secrecy. The plot so far: Richard F. Dunlap Jr. is on a paid leave of absence as district superintendent. But the school board has taken no formal action on Dunlap, according to Dana Spino, the district's manager of media services.
August 6, 2016 |
The Upper Darby school board's surprise decision last month to place Superintendent Richard F. Dunlap Jr. on paid administrative leave was at least partly rooted in a dispute over a redistricting proposal for the system's crowded schools - a controversy that some officials say is tinged with racial resentments in one of the region's most diverse suburbs. Dunlap had been promoting a plan that would have given him the discretion to move students to schools outside their neighborhoods to correct imbalances in class sizes throughout the district.
August 4, 2016 |
At the height of summer, when few people pay attention to school goings-on, Upper Darby Superintendent Richard F. Dunlap Jr. has been quietly placed on paid leave. The July 21 action by the school board, which offered no explanation, took even high-level administrators by surprise. "It did happen suddenly with no formal announcement," said district spokeswoman Dana Spino. "I was told by other administrators. " Hearing through the rumor mill about the 56-year-old Dunlap's absence, Upper Darby's state representative, Republican Jamie Santora, said he asked a school board member what had happened, but got no answer.