March 21, 2014 |
THE School Reform Commission last night approved the sale of seven shuttered schools and a former administrative building for $37.8 million to multiple buyers. The transactions include Drexel University's purchase of University City High, Drew Elementary and the Walnut Center - a 14-acre site - for $25.1 million. The university has said it plans to redevelop the site for mixed uses and make it the new home for Samuel Powel Elementary, a K-4 school that partners with Drexel and has exceeded capacity in its current location.
March 15, 2014 |
A charter school is taking aim at the Philadelphia School Reform Commission's efforts to rein in soaring charter costs. The West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary School has asked the state Supreme Court to rule that the SRC illegally suspended parts of the state School Code covering charters and to bar the commission from moving to close those that refuse to limit enrollment. And in a direct challenge to the SRC's authority, the charter has asked the court to find that the law that led to the state takeover of the district in 2001 and created the SRC is unconstitutional.
February 22, 2014 |
Dozens of cameras clicked as Bill Green walked into the room to begin his first School Reform Commission meeting. More than 100 people rose to their feet. First, a low rumble of boos. Next, shouts. "Whose city? Whose schools?" one person yelled. "Our city! Our schools!" came the loud answer. Philadelphia School District officials said Thursday night that they had an unexpected $14.2 million shortfall for this school year, and would ask for $320 million in new money for next year.
February 20, 2014 |
New School Reform Commission Chairman Bill Green cut right to the chase: The Philadelphia School District needs money, he said minutes after taking the oath of office Tuesday, but there's a more pressing issue. Schools can't improve without major changes to the teachers' contract, Green said. The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers has been without a contract since August, and negotiations are proceeding slowly. Now that the SRC is back to full strength - Green and Farah Jimenez were sworn in Tuesday by Family Court Administrative Judge Kevin Dougherty - it's time to get things going, Green said.
February 6, 2014 |
BY AN overwhelming majority, the state Senate yesterday confirmed Gov. Corbett's two nominees for the School Reform Commission, City Councilman Bill Green and People's Emergency Center CEO Farah Jimenez. Green, who must resign from his Council post, replaces Pedro Ramos as SRC chair after Ramos stepped down last year to deal with family concerns, while Jimenez takes over for Joseph Dworetzky on the five-member board. The two were approved by a 44-2 vote, with Sens. Vincent Hughes and Andrew Dinniman the only nay votes.
February 5, 2014 |
THE STATE Senate will vote today on the nominations of City Councilman Bill Green IV and nonprofit executive Farah Jimenez to the School Reform Commission, according to a spokesman for Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi. The Senate is expected to confirm both nominations, which Gov. Corbett announced in Philadelphia three weeks ago. If confirmed, Green, a Democrat, will replace former chairman Pedro Ramos. Jimenez, a Republican, is president of the People's Emergency Center.
January 31, 2014 |
The Republican leadership of the state Senate is considering allowing public comment at a hearing on City Councilman Bill Green's nomination to be chairman of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission. Last week, the advocacy group Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools asked State Sen. Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson), the president pro tempore, to allow public comment on Gov. Corbett's nomination of Green. Erik Arneson, spokesman for Senate Republicans, said Tuesday no decision had been made.
January 25, 2014 |
Serving on the Philadelphia School Reform Commission was so important to Joseph Dworetzky that even after relocating to San Francisco two years ago, he flew back at least once a month at his own expense for SRC meetings. The five commission members receive no pay. At his final meeting as a commissioner last week, the former city solicitor known for his persistent questioning of district staff urged SRC members and Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. to continue pressing for stable funding for schools.
January 20, 2014 |
When Bill Green last sought reelection to City Council, in 2011, he was so openly interested in Philadelphia's 2015 mayoral race that it became part of his pitch at ward meetings. Other candidates waiting to speak took to joking about it. "Here's the part where he runs for mayor," one candidate for judge whispered to another as Green was speaking one night in Fairmount. But his interest in that 2015 race has faded in recent months. When Pedro Ramos abruptly resigned in October as chairman of the School Reform Commission, Green began lobbying Gov. Corbett for an appointment to lead the agency.