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NEWS
October 17, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
For more than four restless hours Thursday, anger at Philadelphia School District leaders simmered, at times boiling over. At a School Reform Commission meeting and at a union rally held before the meeting, teachers, parents, and community members expressed anger at the district's planned conversion of three schools into charters, at its handing over substitute-teaching services to a company that has underperformed, at its nurse staffing levels, and...
NEWS
October 16, 2015
LAST WEEKEND, I saw "He Called Me Malala," a profoundly moving documentary about the life of Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani teenager who was shot through the head because she advocated for the education of young women. The Taliban made a huge mistake in trying to silence her. Not only did Malala survive, she won the Nobel Peace Prize, and is today a widely admired activist for change. Far from muzzling this one courageous voice, the Taliban managed to amplify it, sending it into thatched classrooms in Africa, the White House, onto the stage of the Constitution Center here in Philadelphia and throughout the halls of Buckingham Palace.
NEWS
October 15, 2015 | BY REGINA MEDINA, Daily News Staff Writer medinar@phillynews.com, 215-854-5985
A LOCAL GROUP of education advocates has sent Gov. Wolf a letter asking for the removal of Farah Jimenez from the School Reform Commission because of her husband's association with charter schools. The Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools says it is also concerned about Jimenez's oversight of the school district's Charter School Office, which she details on her LinkedIn page. The group alleges in an Oct. 8 letter obtained by the Daily News that Jimenez, who was appointed to the SRC in February 2014 by former Gov. Tom Corbett, "has taken actions which raise additional problems with her continuing as a Commissioner.
NEWS
September 19, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
The firm hired to staff Philadelphia classrooms with substitute teachers has been put on notice: "Continued poor performance puts this partnership in jeopardy," Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said Thursday night. Source4Teachers was awarded a $34 million contract to provide substitutes, promising it would fill 75 percent of vacancies on the first day of school. It has done no better than about 15 percent to date. School Reform Commission Chair Marjorie Neff also said the Cherry Hill company's work "has been unacceptable," and said the SRC took full responsibility for its vote to approve the contract.
NEWS
August 14, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Pennsylvania's highest court will decide whether the Philadelphia School Reform Commission can cancel its teachers' contract. Had the Supreme Court declined to take the case, the SRC's move in October 2014 to cancel its contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) would have been voided. The Supreme Court, however, through an order issued Monday, essentially gave the district another shot at achieving by fiat what it has been unable to get at the bargaining table. In January, Commonwealth Court sided with the union, putting aside the SRC's unilateral cancellation of the contract and changes it had imposed on the members' health-care plan.
NEWS
July 16, 2015 | BY REGINA MEDINA, Daily News Staff Writer medinar@phillynews.com, 215-854-5985
PEDRO RAMOS, the former chairman of the School Reform Commission, has been appointed president and CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation, the organization announced yesterday. "This is an opportunity that doesn't present itself often," Ramos, 50, said last night in a phone interview. "It's the leading community institution for bringing people together around the needs of the Philadelphia community. " Ramos will be coming on board as the organization approaches its 97th anniversary.
NEWS
July 2, 2015 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
THE SCHOOL REFORM Commission last night unanimously adopted a $2.8 billion budget for Philadelphia public schools that relies on more than $100 million in new but unlikely state funding. The district's budget includes $159 million in additional dollars proposed by Gov. Wolf, andneeds a minimum of $18 million from Harrisburg to close a projected deficit and avoid any further cuts. Although officials said they hope for the full amount to begin making new investments in the cash-strapped schools, the budget contains a clause that prohibits spending any additional money until the state budget is approved.
NEWS
July 2, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
With no end in sight to budget debates in Harrisburg, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission adopted a spending plan Tuesday that guarantees little else beyond schools opening on time in September. The SRC unanimously approved a $2.6 billion budget that could rise to $2.8 billion, depending on how much money state lawmakers appropriate for Philadelphia schools. Principals and central office staff, however, will have no authority to spend beyond this year's austerity levels until a state budget deal is reached.
NEWS
June 20, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission voted Thursday night to outsource more than 1,000 substitute-teaching jobs, awarding a $34 million contract to a Cherry Hill firm to recruit, hire, and manage the workers for two years. The unanimous vote came over the protests of the teachers' union, which currently represents subs. Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, vowed legal action, including a possible claim of unfair labor practices, and said the move was part of a plan to "privatize public education one position at a time.
NEWS
June 10, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
It's officially safe to carry signs to School Reform Commission meetings. Three former Philadelphia teachers have settled a civil-rights lawsuit they filed against the SRC, Commissioner Bill Green, the city, and others, splitting $32,500 in what they say were First Amendment violations. At a crowded and contentious February SRC meeting, officials confiscated placards from Lisa Haver, Ilene Poses, and Barbara Dowdall. City police also removed Poses from Philadelphia School District headquarters after she refused to surrender the sign she wore around her neck.
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