by Bill Hangley Jr.
The boos began as soon as Bill Green walked in the door. He waited 32 minutes to bang his gavel – the first he’s ever wielded.
“I really wanted a bigger gavel,” he said later with a laugh. “But they told me that size doesn’t matter. I guess we’ll find out.”
It was exactly 5:38 p.m. when Green entered the auditorium at 440 N. Broad St. for the first of what will likely be dozens of School Reform Commission meetings – five years’ worth, if all goes according to plan.
A packed house was primed and ready. Teachers wearing red shirts and union supporters, parents and community activists, volunteers and professionals, familiar faces and new ones, all seething with frustration built up over year after year of budget cuts, deficits, layoffs, closures, fishy deals, flashy plans and unmet promises.
They came to unload on Bill Green.
The School Reform Commission approved the creation of three small, non-selective high schools Thursday that are meant to personalize learning while stressing inquiry- and project-based learning.
The schools, which are still being designed, will abandon the model of consecutive, subject-based periods for a school day to make more effective use of technology, off-campus internships, and community integration. They are meant to reinvigorate the concept of neighborhood schools, said Deputy Superintendent Paul Kihn.
School-funding request faces tough road. Daily News
The new chairman of the SRC. Inquirer
Council bids adieu to Bill Green. Daily News
The financially beleaguered School District is on track to end this fiscal year with a shortfall of $14 million, Chief Financial Officer Matthew Stanski told the School Reform Commission Thursday night.
The news of an unbalanced budget was a grim but not unexpected greeting for new SRC chair Bill Green, who also got an earful from an unhappy capacity crowd of about 250 people. New SRC member Farah Jimenez was not present, fulfilling another commitment that predated her appointment.
by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
Anastasia Ratkova draped an anxious arm around her 14-year-old daughter. That arm was wrapped in a blood-pressure monitor.
It was the night of the MaST charter school enrollment lottery, and people were anxious. Really anxious.
by Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks
Philadelphia School District Superintendent William Hite is asking for an additional $300 million each year to provide just the very basics to students.
That request has many City Council members asking what they will get for their money.
At tonight's School Reform Commission meeting, the first to be chaired by Bill Green, District officials will be presenting on two topics -- Deputy Superintendent Paul Kihn will speak about the "System of Great Schools Initiative," and District CFO Matthew Stanski will give an update on the District's financial situation for next school year.
Check here for a list of resolution summaries. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m.
by Bill Hangley Jr.
As Bill Green takes the helm of the School Reform Commission, new details have emerged about the process that brought him to the job.
Officials at the Philadelphia School Partnership say that their hired consultants from one of the state's most influential lobbying firms, Wojdak & Associates, actively urged legislators in Harrisburg to support Green as SRC chair during the run-up to his approval by the state Senate.
“Our advocacy around the SRC was that the city needed a leader who is focused on reform and has the skills and experience to be effective,” said Mark Gleason, the PSP’s executive director. “Based on Bill Green’s vision and experience, we supported him as a candidate who could be a great SRC chair.”
William Penn Foundation chooses new and very different managing director. Nonprofit Quarterly
The School District of Philadelphia will ask for $320 million in additional funds next year to reach "a bare minimum amount of improved and sustained educational opportunities for our students and families," according to a financial supplement to Superintendent William Hite's Action Plan 2.0 made public Thursday.
Ideally, Hite said, to fully realize his plan -- built on "bold expectations" for creating schools that can prepare all students for college and careers -- the price tag exceeds twice that amount.
It is hard to find someone in the system who trusts the current School District budget. It’s doubtful that more than a few fully understand it.
The District's budget is in many ways a masterpiece of obfuscation, with a design that dates back to former CEO/Superintendent Paul Vallas, who was an accountant by training. The current version fulfills the District’s obligation to publish an annual budget. But the document’s design features and the survival climate created by the continuing financial crisis have given central administration almost complete control over allocation decisions.
by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
For Philadelphia School District Superintendent William Hite, it's a classic managerial quandary.
Either grab some quick savings that could free up money for services that the city's schoolchildren could really use.
Or hold off on that deal in hopes of securing the long-term structural changes that you bet will strengthen the system overall.
Nutter asks biz to help get schools money. Daily News
Can someone help this man? AxisPhilly
Hite plan gets muted response. Inquirer
Snow forces students into cyber school. Inquirer
The School District does not do enough to train employees or clarify and enforce its ethics policies, a long-awaited report being discussed at the School Reform Commission today concludes.
As a result of the lack of focus, members of the public lack confidence that the School District officials and personnel act in an ethical manner, says the report, which was compiled by a task force of outside experts and completed in December, 2012 -- 14 months ago.
The School Reform Commission will host a Strategy, Policy and Priorities meeting from 6 to 8 tonight. The topic will be ethics. A report on the ethics policies and practices of the School District of Philadelphia will be presented by Michael Davis, general counsel, and Ellen Kaplan, vice president and policy director of the Committee of Seventy.
The report, which was actually finished in 2012, makes recommendations for assuring Philadelphia citizens that the School District operates with integrity.