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NEWS
April 21, 2016 | By Jeff Gammage and Martha Woodall, STAFF WRITERS
Bill Green believes he knows a way to help the beleaguered Philadelphia schools: restore him to his job as chairman of the School Reform Commission. On Tuesday, he formally announced the filing of a lawsuit that aims to lift him from the ranks of commission membership and place him back at its head. State legislators "might have more confidence in sending the district money" if he were in charge, he said after a news conference at School District offices. His main purpose in suing to overturn his ouster by Gov. Wolf, Green said, is to prove a point of law, and protect the independence of the SRC and the office of chairman.
NEWS
April 20, 2016 | By Martha Woodall, Staff Writer
Bill Green, a member of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, is going to court to try to regain his position as chairman after all. He said he was filing a Commonwealth Court suit that would challenge Gov. Wolf's legal authority to remove him as chair of the five-member SRC in March 2015. Green said he was taking the action "to contribute more effectively to our collective work" and protect "the independence and mission" of the SRC. "Last spring, I indicated that I would fight my illegal removal in court," Green says in an opinion piece published in Tuesday's issue of the Inquirer.
NEWS
April 20, 2016 | By Bill Green
In an effort to contribute more effectively to our collective work, I am taking action to return to my appointed position as chair of the School Reform Commission. I expect and understand that this will elicit a chorus of boos from some, and want to explain both the legal basis and the reason for taking action now. First, some background. Gov. Wolf opposes all new charters, as do the powerful teachers' unions that lavished $1.6 million to elect him. Wolf purported to remove me as chair in March 2015, shortly after the SRC had voted to approve five new charter schools - and voted down 34 others.
NEWS
April 12, 2016 | By Encarna Rodriguez and Amy Brown
THE SCHOOL REFORM Commission has to go. It has to go because, no matter how much we respect the commissioners who serve this body, the fate of the schools should be decided by elected officials accountable to the people and the communities they serve. It has to go, because it has clearly failed to deliver the financial stability that justified its creation 15 years ago (an impossible task to begin with but one the SRC has accepted as its charge, nevertheless). It has to go because, as John Wister Elementary School shows, it is ripping apart some of the very communities on whose behalf the commissioners are supposed to make their decisions.
NEWS
March 26, 2016 | By Martha Woodall, Staff Writer
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission on Thursday approved the broad outlines of a proposed $2.8 billion budget for next year that, while anticipating it will have to pay more for charters and pensions, does not see the district's having to ask City Council for new revenue. In a briefing before the SRC meeting, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said the district would ask Harrisburg for more money in the fiscal year that begins July 1, but for the first time in years the city will not be tapped for more.
NEWS
March 20, 2016 | By Martha Woodall, Staff Writer
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission has quietly settled one of four lawsuits stemming from a controversial $7.5 million no-bid camera contract backed by then-Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman. With no advance notice and no public discussion, the SRC unanimously agreed Thursday to pay $725,000 to Francis X. Dougherty, a former top administrator who lost his job in 2011 after he revealed the no-bid deal to the Inquirer. Dougherty sued the district, and last year, a federal jury found that he had been wrongfully suspended and fired for disclosing the contract to provide surveillance cameras in troubled schools.
NEWS
March 4, 2016 | By Martha Woodall, Staff Writer
IN A BID to undo last month's devastating state Supreme Court ruling that the Philadelphia School Reform Commission has no power to suspend parts of the state school code, the SRC has asked the court to reconsider its decision. The SRC said in documents filed with the court Monday that the decision "invalidated an essential tool provided by the legislature to address the School District of Philadelphia's ongoing financial and educational crisis at a time when the district is struggling to carry out its constitutional obligation to provide a thorough and efficient education" to city public school students.
NEWS
February 25, 2016
It's time to begin the hard work necessary to replace the Philadelphia School Reform Commission with a viable school board. The SRC's reason to exist was all but buried last week when the state Supreme Court ruled that the law that created its extraordinary powers nearly two decades ago was unconstitutional. Without the authority granted in the 1998 law allowing the state to take over the School District in 2001, the SRC won't be able to circumvent its contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers to assign staff and change work rules based on what it deems necessary.
NEWS
February 20, 2016 | By Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer
Does the new reality handed him this week by the state Supreme Court trouble William R. Hite Jr.? "Absolutely, I'm worried about what it means," the Philadelphia school superintendent said Thursday night of a court ruling this week striking down some of the special powers the School Reform Commission has used in times of crisis. "A lot of the tools that the governing body had have been removed. " The decision could affect how teachers are assigned, how schools are closed, and, most significant, how charter schools might grow.
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