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NEWS
May 13, 2016 | By Martha Woodall and Mensah M. Dean, STAFF WRITERS
The Philadelphia School District has failed to conduct background checks of all of its police officers and bus drivers, uses unreliable student-data technology, and is the victim of a "broken" state funding system, according to a performance audit released Wednesday by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. In addition to those key findings, DePasquale pointed out two other faults: He called the district's accounting system for unused textbooks after dozens of school closings in 2013 "inexcusable," and pointed out that the School Reform Commission had not conducted timely performance evaluations of Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. "Financially, the whole system for funding the Philadelphia School District is broken," DePasquale said at a news conference attended by Hite at School District headquarters.
NEWS
May 13, 2016 | By Martha Woodall, Staff Writer
HARRISBURG - Did the Philadelphia School Reform Commission have the power to cancel its teachers' contract and impose changes to their health-care plan during a financial crisis in 2014? SRC attorney David H. Pittinsky told the state Supreme Court on Wednesday that the commission has at its disposal "an arsenal of rights that were given by the General Assembly" to reduce expenses, to ensure that students in the city's public schools have the resources for an "adequate" education.
NEWS
April 30, 2016 | By Mensah M. Dean, Staff Writer
The School Reform Commission moved forward Thursday night with plans to turn over three struggling elementary schools to charter operators as part of the Renaissance reform program, but postponed taking action on seven existing charter schools that were seeking renewal agreements. The decisions came at the end of a five-hour meeting during which audience members at times shouted out their frustrations and suffered having their microphone cutoff when they spoke too long. The district's five-year-old Renaissance Schools initiative, which aims to transform academically struggling schools by turning them over to charter operators, was front and center at the meeting.
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 23, 2016
ISSUE | SCHOOL REFORM COMMISSION Green as chair won't help students In his commentary, Bill Green explained how he was wronged when Gov. Wolf removed him as chair of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission a year ago ("Wolf was wrong on SRC firing," Tuesday). What he did not explain was how Philadelphia schoolchildren will benefit from his reinstatement as chair - because they won't. The time, money, and distraction Green's lawsuit will waste is all about him and his ego, nothing more.
NEWS
April 22, 2016
The future of the Philadelphia schools does not rest on the result of School Reform Commission member Bill Green's legal fight to regain the board's chairmanship, from which Gov. Wolf unceremoniously demoted him a year ago. But the public schools' well-being does depend on the governance of the district and the state, and Green's lawsuit raises necessary questions about both. The Democratic governor's roughshod removal of the former city councilman over an apparent policy disagreement casts doubt on the independence and utility of the SRC at a time when it's besieged on multiple fronts.
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.
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