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NEWS
October 17, 2014 | By Dylan Purcell, Inquirer Staff Writer
About two dozen members of parent advocacy groups and their supporters rallied Wednesday outside Philadelphia School District headquarters to protest last week's canceling of the labor contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. Under cloudy skies, they scolded the School Reform Commission over its unprecedented unilateral action. Cheri Honkala, 53, an antipoverty advocate and the parent of a child who recently graduated from Moffet Elementary, a K-5 school in North Philadelphia, said the commission underestimated the will of district parents.
NEWS
October 16, 2014 | By Susan Snyder and Amy Worden, Inquirer Staff Writers
An eleventh-hour proposal to give Pennsylvania's governor the power to abolish the Philadelphia School Reform Commission died in committee Tuesday under deep protest from Democratic lawmakers. "We have suffered under this SRC and its actions," State Sen. Vincent Hughes, a Philadelphia Democrat, told a packed Harrisburg hearing room as he sought support for the measure. Hughes and fellow Democrats, angered that the SRC had canceled the Philadelphia teachers' union contract and imposed terms that included new payments toward health insurance, targeted the commission for elimination.
NEWS
October 16, 2014
THE IDEA OF abolishing the School Reform Commission and replacing it with an elected board has recently dominated the conversation about Philadelphia's schools. Most local politicians, the teachers union and even Democratic candidate for governor Tom Wolf favor returning the schools to local control after almost 13 years of state oversight. Whether it happens remains to be seen. The SRC was created by state law and it will take a change in state law to undo it. Presumably that debate can begin next year after the new governor and Legislature are sworn in. Before we get to that point, it's worth thinking about the idea and its implications.
NEWS
October 16, 2014 | By Jane M. Von Bergen, Inquirer Staff Writer
Outraged by the School Reform Commission's decision to cancel its collective bargaining agreement with Philadelphia public school teachers, city labor leaders contemplated calling for a general strike. In two meetings, last Thursday and Sunday, labor leaders debated the wisdom of asking members of all area unions - laborers, electricians, communications workers, janitors, nurses, bus drivers, city employees - to walk off their jobs to protest the SRC's decision. "If there is going to be a fight, we have to fight about the future, and the kids are the future," said Henry Nicholas, president of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, headquartered in Philadelphia.
NEWS
October 16, 2014 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
A STATE Senate committee yesterday shot down a proposal that would have given the governor the authority to abolish the School Reform Commission, the body that oversees the Philadelphia School District. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted down the amendment along party lines, 14-9, with no Republicans supporting it. The committee also rejected a second amendment that would have required the SRC to provide 48 hours' notice before holding a meeting. Both amendments were attached to a bill regarding home-schooling.
NEWS
October 15, 2014 | BY LISA HAVER
THE DECISION by Chairman William Green and members of the School Reform Commission to invalidate its long-standing contract with school district teachers, nurses, counselors and secretaries - in a meeting which was, for all practical purposes, closed to the public - is about issues much larger than money. Their decision represents a violation of the civil rights of those who educate our children, and signals another step in the almost casual obliteration of the rights of the many Americans who work in public service.
NEWS
October 15, 2014 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
A PHILADELPHIA Democrat wants to give the power to abolish the School Reform Commission to the governor. State Sen. Vincent Hughes plans to offer an amendment in the Senate this week that would authorize the governor, through the Secretary of Education, to dissolve the SRC. Currently, the SRC would have to vote to dissolve itself. The amendment will come a week after the SRC unilaterally canceled the school district's contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers - an unprecedented move - and imposed changes to health-care benefits.
NEWS
October 12, 2014 | By Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writer
The leader of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers said Friday that he expected the union's lawyer to go to court next week to fight the School Reform Commission's decision to cancel the union's contract. At a news conference, PFT president Jerry Jordan was joined by Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who came to the city to blast the SRC's action. Weingarten called the SRC's move "reckless, illegal, and immoral. " The union leaders were backed by a large contingent of city and state political leaders showing their support for the union's 15,000 teachers, counselors, nurses, and secretaries.
NEWS
October 11, 2014 | By Thomas Fitzgerald and Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writers
Democrat Tom Wolf said Thursday he would push, if elected governor, to abolish the School Reform Commission and transfer state control of Philadelphia schools to a locally elected school board. Wolf took exception to the dramatic step the SRC took last week when it canceled its contract with the teachers' union and imposed terms requiring members to pay 10 percent to 13 percent of the cost of their health-care benefits; currently they pay nothing. "I'm against what [the SRC] did," Wolf said.
NEWS
October 9, 2014 | BY JENNY DeHUFF, Daily News Staff Writer dehuffj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5218
IF WHAT happened Monday with the School Reform Commission's decision to break its teachers contract feels like deja vu, the feeling is not entirely misplaced. It's easy to find several parallels between the actions of SRC Chairman Bill Green and those of his father, former Mayor Bill Green III, who oversaw the biggest teacher strike in Philadelphia history in 1981. First, some background: In September 1981, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers went on strike for 50 days over a promised 10 percent pay raise that never materialized.
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