IN THE NEWS

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NEWS
November 21, 2014 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
THE SCHOOL Reform Commission got an earful last night from school-choice supporters as it voted not to renew one charter and gets ready to consider applications for dozens of new ones. The commission voted 4-1 for non-renewal of Imani Education Circle Charter in Germantown. Sylvia Simms was the lone dissenting vote. Officials cited poor performance on state standardized tests and financial woes at the K-8 school, which serves roughly 450 students. Imani supporters, which included board members and staff, refuted claims about academic struggles and said families would be hard-pressed to find better options.
NEWS
November 14, 2014 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
NEW VIDEO released yesterday shows School Reform Commission member Sylvia Simms telling student protesters, "Y'all probably in failing schools," during a confrontation last month. The exchange happened Oct. 15 when more than a dozen students with the Philadelphia Student Union interrupted a showing of the movie "Won't Back Down" hosted by Simms and Comcast at the district's headquarters. The film is loosely based on events in Los Angeles in 2010, when parents tried to take over several failing public schools.
NEWS
November 1, 2014
CITY COUNCIL unanimously passed a resolution yesterday urging the School Reform Commission and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers to return to the bargaining table. The resolution, sponsored by Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, comes weeks after the SRC unilaterally canceled the contract with the teachers' union on Oct. 6 and imposed health-care benefits requiring members to pay toward their premiums - most of them for the first time - to save about $44 million this year and more than $200 million over the next four years.
NEWS
October 22, 2014 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Common Pleas Court judge Monday granted the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers' request for a preliminary injunction to stop the School Reform Commission from imposing changes to teachers' health-care benefits. After hearing nearly four hours of testimony, Judge Nina Wright Padilla issued the short order from the bench without elaborating. Her ruling prevents the SRC - at least for now - from implementing the broad changes it approved Oct. 6, when it voted to cancel the PFT contract and require union members to contribute to the cost of their health-care premiums beginning in December.
NEWS
October 19, 2014 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Striking back against a move to cancel its contract, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers on Friday challenged the School Reform Commission on several fronts. The teachers' union asked for an injunction to halt planned changes to its members' health-care plans. It filed bad-faith bargaining charges against the SRC with the state Labor Relations Board. And it asserted that a key ruling - now scheduled to be made in Commonwealth Court - on whether the SRC has the power to cancel the labor contract should be decided in a lower court or through arbitration.
NEWS
October 18, 2014 | By Susan Snyder, Inquirer Staff Writer
A member of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission has come under fire for yelling at student protesters who disrupted a parent movie night held Wednesday at school district headquarters. Ruby Anderson, a senior at Science Leadership Academy, and two other people in attendance said Commissioner Sylvia Simms asked students what schools they attend and then told them: "You all probably go to failing schools. " "I thought it was pretty inappropriate for a public official to yell at people she's supposed to be representing," said Anderson, who was among about 20 students staging the sit-in.
NEWS
October 18, 2014 | By Kristen A. Graham and Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writers
  Furious over the Philadelphia School Reform Commission's move to unilaterally cancel its teachers' contract, 3,000 people shut down North Broad Street on Thursday, vowing more disruptive action if the panel's action is not undone. The eyes of the nation are on Philadelphia, said American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, in town for a massive rally held before an SRC meeting. "Philly is ground zero for injustice," Weingarten told the crowd of sign-waving teachers, counselors, nurses, and supporters.
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 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.
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