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NEWS
March 4, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
The swift kick that Gov. Wolf issued to former School Reform Commission Chairman Bill Green's rear wasn't entirely unexpected after Green ignored the governor's plea that the SRC not approve any more charter schools. Nonetheless, it was disturbing to see Green demoted. Caught between the new governor wanting no new charters and powerful legislative leaders calling for an expansion of the independent schools, the SRC approved only five of 39 applications. That seemed like a reasonable compromise in that the small number suggested that only the best applications were approved.
NEWS
March 4, 2015 | By Ronnie Polaneczky, Daily News Columnist
I MIGHT AS WELL admit my bias right up front: I think Marge Neff rocks. She's the School Reform Commission member who just got promoted to chairman by new Gov. Tom Wolf. I've got nothing against former chair Bill Green, who has been pushed aside by Neff's ascension. I disagree mightily with his over-zealous commitment to charter schools, but he deserves credit nonetheless for taking on a thankless job. Green walked into the lion's den when he resigned City Council last year to head the SRC, a position that pays nothing in dollars but a king's ransom in migraines , sleepless nights and ears burned by the fiery vitriol of parents, teachers and politicians.
NEWS
March 4, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Bill Green was not shocked when Gov. Wolf removed him as School Reform Commission chair, he said Monday, drawing a straight line from his ouster to the governor's perceived alliance with the teachers' union. "Based on his public campaign and who his financial backers are, I have a sense that we don't agree on the future of the School District," Green said of the governor, who replaced him with Commissioner Marjorie Neff, a retired Philadelphia School District principal. Wolf wants "more money in the traditional public school model" only, Green said.
NEWS
March 4, 2015 | BY SOLOMON LEACH & REGINA MEDINA, Daily News Staff Writers leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
A DAY AFTER a major shake-up on the School Reform Commission, the new chair of the Philadelphia School District's governing body said she does not foresee big changes to her role or the way the district handles contract negotiations with the teachers union. "I can't say that there'll be a change in approach," Marjorie Neff, a career educator, said about bargaining with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. "All of the SRC members are committed to making sure we have a contract that is fiscally responsible and giving [Superintendent]
NEWS
March 3, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Days after Bill Green defied Gov. Wolf by voting to approve new charter schools, the governor has stripped Green of his chairmanship of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission. Marjorie Neff, a retired Philadelphia public school principal, will be the new chair of the five-member governing body of the Philadelphia School District, she confirmed Sunday. A spokesman for Wolf confirmed the governor's move Sunday night after Green made his demotion public. Wolf's spokesman, Jeffrey Sheridan, said the district needed a change in leaders.
NEWS
March 3, 2015 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
GOV. WOLF appears to be moving ahead with his "Apocalypse Now" approach to governing, and School Reform Commission Chairman Bill Green is the latest head on a stake. Wolf, fewer than six weeks into the job, called Green yesterday to inform him that he was removing him as chairman. It was a bold move by the new Democratic governor - on a Sunday night no less! - that Green says might be illegal. Wolf named Commissioner Marjorie Neff, a career educator, as the new chairwoman of the five-member SRC, which governs the 200,000-student Philadelphia School District.
NEWS
February 25, 2015 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
THE SCHOOL Reform Commission and the Philadelphia School District yesterday appealed to the state Supreme Court on a ruling that blocks changes to teachers' health-care benefits. On Jan. 22, a panel of five Commonwealth Court judges had rejected the SRC's argument that provisions in the School Code give it the power to impose terms. The SRC and the district insist that during periods of fiscal distress, the SRC has the authority to identify savings in labor contracts and redirect those resources to schools.
NEWS
February 24, 2015
EVEN FOR a school district that has essentially set up permanent residency between a rock and a hard place, last week's vote by the School Reform Commission to approve five new charter schools was notable. Faced with 39 applications for charters, pressure from Harrisburg lawmakers and Philadelphia School Partnership to approve as many as possible, pressure from Gov. Wolf to approve none, vocal protesters at the meeting on both sides of the issue, and a deficit that can only be worsened with more charter schools, the SRC took what looks to be the most prudent path: five approvals, 34 denials.
NEWS
February 21, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
The School Reform Commission continued to take heat Thursday for its decision to approve five new charter schools, with critics from both sides railing against the action. Mark Gleason, executive director of Philadelphia School Partnership, said he was "deeply disappointed" that the SRC approved only five schools, with 2,684 places for students, Wednesday, rejecting proposals by qualified schools. PSP, a well-funded, controversial nonprofit dedicated to expanding strong schools, had offered $25 million to help defray new-charter costs, but for now, that money is off the table, Gleason said.
NEWS
February 20, 2015 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
ELECTED OFFICIALS and education reformers yesterday voiced frustration with the School Reform Commission's decision to approve five of 39 charter applications. The commission voted during a raucous meeting Wednesday to grant charters to Independence, MaST Community, KIPP, Mastery and Freire. The approved applicants are the first stand-alone charters granted in the city since 2007 and will provide an additional 2,684 seats by 2019. Despite the measured approach, those on both sides of the issue were unhappy with the outcome.
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