December 12, 2006
IT'S BEEN more than two years since the school district removed valuable original artwork from the walls of Philadelphia schools. More than 270 works, including those by such renowned painters as Dox Thrash, Thomas Eakins, and Henry Ossawa Tanner are part of a district-owned collection of 1,223 pieces estimated to be worth $30 million. Those 270 works are out of sight, tucked away in a safe, secure, climate-controlled location. Which may be good for the artworks, but isn't good for the city's schoolchildren.
June 25, 2011
Tuesday's editorial ("Answers aren't in the past") failed to discern the strong future that Pedro Ramos can help forge as a new member of the School Reform Commission. Ramos' previous leadership of the Board of Education was anything but ineffective. He exhibited courage, foresight, and tenacity by steering the board on a course that shook up the status quo from every angle. His tenure proved not the failure of that particular school board, but the failure of an outdated governing model that expected the commonwealth of Pennsylvania to pay more than half of the city's school bills, while keeping all decision-making a local prerogative.
August 20, 2009 |
The New Media Technology Charter School must replace its top administrator, its board chairman, and the rest of its board members to obtain a new operating charter. The Philadelphia School Reform Commission yesterday voted unanimously to require those changes and to impose more than 20 other conditions on New Media to address allegations of financial mismanagement and conflicts of interest. The resolution said Ina Walker, New Media's chief executive, must either be terminated or resign by Sept.
October 23, 2006
NO MATTER HOW you spin it, the School District of Philadelphia has a problem. A big problem. A balanced budget turned into a $21 million deficit which turned into a $70 million-$80 million hole to fill. District CEO Paul Vallas and his boss, School Reform Commission Chairman James Nevels, have repeatedly and confidently assured the public that the hole will be plugged and the books put back in balance. But we wonder: Will the deficit go higher? Can it go higher? Why can't anyone say for sure?
November 12, 2008 |
Michael J. Masch, the chief business officer of the Philadelphia School District, will brief the School Reform Commission today on charter school costs. Masch is scheduled to make a presentation on "Net Costs of Charter Schools" during the commission's regular, 2 p.m. meeting in the auditorium of the district's headquarters at 440 N. Broad St. There are 63 charter schools in the city that enroll more than 30,000 students. The district spent $279 million on charters during 2007-08.
June 19, 2008 |
Philadelphia Academy Charter School will remain open, but with an unprecedented level of scrutiny from the Philadelphia School District. The Philadelphia School Reform Commission voted unanimously yesterday to give the popular Northeast school a new, five-year operating charter starting Sept. 1, provided the school agrees to meet a list of 20 conditions. Those include a complete overhaul of the board and new bylaws barring conflicts of interest and self-dealing. The commission has ordered the board to sever all ties with charter founder Brien N. Gardiner, former chief executive officer Kevin M. O'Shea, and their relatives, and to end contracts with businesses tied to them.
May 16, 2002
Hey, while we're at it, why don't we hire Enron to provide electricity to the Philadelphia public schools? That would make about as much sense as the Schweiker administration's continuing, head-over-heels crush on Edison Schools Inc. Even a Securities and Exchange Commission probe into a misleading accounting practice could not dent this infatuation with Edison. Investors who bet their own money, not taxpayers', are less starry-eyed. Edison stock has lost four-fifths of its value in a month.
June 21, 2007 |
While the School Reform Commission is cutting programs and spending by nearly $100 million this summer, the commissioners are also quietly negotiating a payment agreement for outgoing schools chief Paul Vallas, sources confirmed yesterday. "Vallas' lawyers are trying to go higher, and the SRC is trying to go lower," said a school district source who asked for anonymity. On July 1, Vallas will start his new job as superintendent of the New Orleans Recovery School District. He is on vacation until then and could not be reached for comment yesterday.
August 13, 2007
JAMES NEVELS' announcement that he'll resign next month as chairman of the School Reform Commission could not have come at a worse time. Nevels pulls up stakes just as the district begins a national search for a permanent chief executive officer, looks for $49 million more in cuts to balance the budget, and negotiates a new, one-year, $12 million contract with the district's Educational Management Organizations. It will be tough, hard work, made easier with Nevels' reference of institutional memory - the good memories as well as bad - from which to draw.
July 2, 2007
ARE EDUCATIONAL-management organizations -the schools privately managed by Edison, Victory, and others- a sound investment for the city's schools? Yes and no. The SRC says yes. Last week, they voted to renew the contracts for all 38 of the EMO schools for at least another year. The vote came in the face of more than a few "despites. " Contracts were renewed despite the fact that 12 of the EMO schools are failing. And despite the fact that the school district's chief academic officer, Gregory Thornton, had proposed renewing only some of the schools.