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School District passes an austere – but hopeful – budget

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Jul 1, 2015 08:15 AM

With a final budget from Harrisburg missing in action, the Philadelphia School District adopted its own budget just under the final deadline.

At a relatively brief School Reform Commission meeting, the District's Chief Financial Officer Matt Stanski laid out the budget's premise. "We will need at least $18 million dollars from the state in order to maintain, as we like to say, the inadequate, status quo budget levels that our schools are currently operating under." 

SRC set to adopt budget considerably smaller than what it sought

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 30, 2015 05:06 PM

UPDATED 6 p.m. 

The School Reform Commission will vote Thursday on a 2015-16 budget of $2.8 billion, while giving Superintendent William Hite authorization to spend $2.67 billion of that pending the state's completion of its own highly contentious budget.

The District is hoping for an additional $159 million from the state, $141 million of which could allow the District to restore some cuts and embark on a reform plan. It counts on at least an $18 million boost in state funding.

Gov. Wolf and the Republican legislature are still locked in battle over a budget for next year and are unlikely to meet tonight's deadline for passage. Wolf had sought new taxes, including on shale drilling, to fund a $400 million increase in education spending, about $159 million of which would come to Philadelphia. 

Can parents help parents treat students with serious emotional disturbances?

By Paul Jablow on Jun 30, 2015 02:27 PM

Achieving greater parent and caregiver involvement for students receiving behavioral health treatment services is a main goal for behavioral health workers and the School District in the coming school year.

In this Q&A with the Notebook, Kamilah Jackson, deputy chief medical officer of child and adolescent services at Community Behavioral Health, the city’s mental health agency; and Valarie Oulds, program manager at the department, discuss a pilot behavioral health treatment service funded primarily by Medicaid. Starting in five elementary schools in the fall, the new program will hire parents who have experience navigating the behavioral health system themselves.

Making sense of Pa. school funding: Budgets, formulas and stalemates

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Jun 29, 2015 09:24 PM

As Pennsylvania's July 1 budget deadline nears, state education funding for schools is still a question mark.

Over the weekend, legislators held 12-hour sessions and advocates flooded the Capitol in Harrisburg to work on a deal, but Democrats and Republicans have shot down each other's plans. Swirling through the budget debate are two questions that will have a big impact on schools' bottom lines: How much money should the state contribute to education this year? And what should be done with the new education funding formula?

A challenge to expanding learning time: Giving teachers time to plan

By Sarah Glen for Chalkbeat on Jun 29, 2015 05:46 PM

Michelle Gunderson used to look forward to her weekly training sessions about how to work with struggling readers.

One morning per week, she and her fellow first-grade teachers at Nettelhorst Elementary School in Chicago would cycle through each other’s classrooms to discuss useful strategies and to see up close the visual aids that others were using.

Grant to help five Mount Airy schools with early literacy

By Greg Windle on Jun 29, 2015 01:57 PM

The Mount Airy Schools Coalition announced a new neighborhood-wide early literacy campaign last week, with the goal of having all students reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade.

The campaign, called Mount Airy Reads, is funded in large part by a $245,000 grant from the Lenfest Foundation. The money will provide five elementary schools  --  A.B. Day, Emlen, C.W. Henry, Houston, and Lingelbach -- with books, professional development, and teacher coaching.

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