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NEWS
April 9, 2014 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission told the state Supreme Court on Monday it's important for the court to rule quickly on whether the commission has the power to impose work rule changes for teachers next fall. The SRC's filing is the latest volley in a legal dispute between the SRC and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers over the powers granted to the commission by the law that led to the 2001 state takeover of city schools. Two weeks ago, the commission asked the state's top court to declare that it has the authority to make unilateral work-rule changes, including disregarding seniority for teacher assignments, transfers, layoffs, and recalls.
NEWS
April 7, 2014 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
The state is backing the Philadelphia School Reform Commission's request for a court ruling that would allow it to impose work-rule changes, including disregarding seniority for teacher assignments, transfers, layoffs, and recalls. In documents filed with the state Supreme Court late Thursday, the Department of Education said such changes were "essential to the SRC's mission of stabilizing the district's finances. " Jerry Jordan, president of the 10,000-member Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, which has challenged the SRC's position, said Saturday he was stunned by the Education Department's filing.
NEWS
April 5, 2014 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia teachers union on Thursday asked the state Supreme Court to toss out the School Reform Commission's request for unilateral authority to change work rules for teachers. In its filing, the 11,000-member Philadelphia Federation of Teachers challenged the commission's assertion. The PFT said nearly every change the SRC wants to make on its own - including disregarding seniority for new teacher assignments - has been subject to collective bargaining for years. "This action by the SRC and its new chairman, Bill Green, is just the latest attempt by the commission - an unelected and unaccountable body - to strip teachers and other school employees of their rights, but even more important, the SRC's actions do nothing to improve the learning conditions for our city's children," PFT president Jerry Jordan said in a statement.
NEWS
April 4, 2014 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
THE PHILADELPHIA Federation of Teachers asked the state Supreme Court yesterday to toss out a petition from the school district and the School Reform Commission that seeks to eliminate seniority and other work rules, claiming they are bargained privileges. In its response to the district's March 24 filing, the union says the work-rule changes sought by the SRC have long been a part of the collective-bargaining agreement and are subject to the grievance-and-arbitration process, therefore the court has no jurisdiction.
NEWS
March 29, 2014 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA The Philadelphia School District is forecasting a budget of $2.8 billion next year - a figure that is up from this year's $2.4 billion outlay, but calls for $440 million in new money that the district is not assured of getting from the city or the state. Still, the budget would provide only what Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. called the basics for school reform. Acknowledging there were some risks involved in its forecasting, the School Reform Commission on Thursday night adopted a "lump sum" budget statement that projects slightly better conditions in city classrooms for 2014-15.
NEWS
March 29, 2014 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission will hold a hearing Friday on closing the nation's first charter school for students in foster care, and no one from the troubled school will present a case for keeping it open. Arise Academy Charter High School in West Oak Lane will not participate in the hearing, it said, because the SRC's new policy on terminating charters gives it broad power to close schools and makes the process unfair. Although other schools have agreed to close after the SRC said it would not renew their charters, Arise is the first to elect not to participate in a scheduled hearing.
NEWS
March 26, 2014 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
LOCKED IN A stalemate with the teachers union, the Philadelphia School District took a more forceful approach yesterday, asking the state Supreme Court to reaffirm its right to impose work rules, including the elimination of teacher seniority. The filing is the climax of tense negotiations between the district and its largest union, which have been under way for more than a year. Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan called the move a "bogus effort" to avoid bargaining in good faith.
NEWS
March 22, 2014 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
The School Reform Commission on Thursday signed off on sales of eight closed buildings - properties that will net the cash-poor Philadelphia School District less than $30 million. Douglas High School in Port Richmond will be sold to Maritime Academy Charter School for $2.1 million. Shaw Middle School in Southwest Philadelphia will go to Mastery Charter for $2.7 million. Alexander Wilson Elementary in Southwest Philadelphia will be bought by Orens Bros. Real Estate Inc. for $4.6 million.
NEWS
March 21, 2014 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
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.
NEWS
March 15, 2014 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
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